Friday, 3 March 2017


above: a 17-year old Mozart
Boston-based RR Auction is presently offering to one lucky bidder a fragment from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s c. 1773 Serenade in D Major ("Antretter," Köchel no. 185) – in particular from the works’ third movement (allegro).

The double-sided leaf, page-marked “34” (believed to be in the hand of the senior Mozart, Leopold, who was a near-constant presence/force of influence in Wolfgang’s life during this period), is part of a now much-disembodied larger manuscript, originally containing 58 leaves, many of which are now presumed to be lost – a result of the score having been split up subsequent to the sale of the complete manuscript by Berlin-based autograph trader J. A. Stargardt in 1975. The remaining leaves have since been preserved at the Mozart Foundation in Salzburg.

The Serenade in D major is believed to have been composed by a 17-year old Wolfgang to honor one Thadda Simon Antretter (hence the work’s alternate title) – a friend to the Mozart family who had recently graduated from the University of Salzburg with a degree in logic (the Serenade, complete with it's introductory 'Processional March' (K.189) is believed to have been performed as 'finalmusik' for the graduation ceremony itself). The “Antretter” Serenade is notable as the first serenade to employ a solo violin. Mozart, who learned the instrument as a young child from Leopold, presently served as a concert violinist in the Austrian city, and, in an effort to showcase his virtuosity – not only on performing on the instrument, but also, as a skilled composer for the violin – would include three of them in the Serenade.

The fragment (Lot #492 at RR Auction) is expected to fetch upwards of $200,000 at auction, which ends Wednesday.

To follow this item, or to place your bid, visit RR Auction: Mozart, Lot 492 

UPDATE - MARCH 8, 2017, 7:32pm EST: Mozart Serenade in D Major (Allegro) final bid: US $147,000 (no sale); RRAuction Lot 492

Listen below to the allegro from Mozart's Serenade in D Major (begins at 19:16 and ends at 22:38):

Paganini performing at the
Paris Opera March 9 1831 by
Also presently up for grabs by RR Auction is a “rare, triple-signed letter” from the pen of late 18th/early 19th century virtuosic violinist and composer (and, according to some contemporary admirers of the musician, il diavolo himself), Niccolò Paganini. The double-sided page, written in French by Paganini to administrators of the Hospices Civils in Lyon, reads (translation):

“Mr. Paganini asks the Administrators of the Hospices to take account of the twenty-two concerts to be given according to his subscription: Sunday, 13 March—Opera. Sunday, 20 March—Opera. Sunday, 27 March—Opera. Sunday, 3 April—Opera. Sunday, 10 April—Theatre Italien. To that effect, he wants to get the earnings of the 13th of March to finish his accounts with the Opera. The other…six concerts are in charge of the Opera. The concert of the 17th is not included. It is in benefit of poor people, from which you will receive a large sum.”

It is signed by the musician twice: once as "Mr. Paganini," and once as “Nicolo Paganini,”

The letter – Lot #493 at RR Auction – includes an additional leaf, bearing the words “Return as soon as possible, Mr. Paganini has to leave Thursday morning.”

The letter, marked 26 April, 1831, dates from a particularly exciting time in Paganini’s musical career. It is doubly notable: it is penned shortly after the musician’s first concert in Paris (held 9th of March, 1831); the concert was part of a series that would amass significant crowds for Paganini – this, in spite of public vitriol over the skyrocketed ticket prices at the Paris Opera, which had recently doubled in fare.

The letter (and accompanying leaf) is expected to fetch upwards of $4,200. Bidding ends Wednesday.

To follow this item, or to place your bid, visit RR Auction: Paganini Letter

UPDATE - MARCH 8, 2017, 7:59pm EST: Rare "triple-signed letter" by Niccolò Paganini final bid: US $2,700 (no sale); RRAuction Lot 493
Listen below to the adagio from Paganini's Violin Concerto no. 4 in D minor. The concerto  premiered to mixed critical review at Paris in March of 1831. Paganini’s 4th, much like Mozart’s Serenade in D major, also once held the title of a 'disembodied' work – disseminated by the hands of time. Its composer would carry it's pages close to the vest, even carrying it upon his own person during his many travels. It would remain in the Paganini family until 1936, when descendants of the musician sold the orchestral score to paper dealer Natale Gallini. Gallini would soon discover a portion of the score – the part for solo violin – was missing from his purchase; after a thorough search the fragment was located in the collection of Giovanni Bottesini, a double-bass player. Upon retrieval of the music for the violin solo, Gallani would pass the completed score onto his son – conductor Franco Gallini – who would honor the memory of Paganini with a "Second World Premiere" at Paris in November 1954.


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