W. A. Mozart: Violin and Viola Duos — the 'Uppingham' collection - Part E
TITLE PAGE, Abstract, Acknowledgements, Citation
Part A: INTRODUCTION (David Milsom & Clive Brown)
Part B: FERDINAND DAVID’S EDITION IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT (David Milsom)
Part C: PERFORMING FERDINAND DAVID’S REALISATION OF THE MOZART VIOLIN & VIOLA DUOS (David Milsom & Clive Brown)
Part D: EXPERIMENTAL RECORDINGS (Clive Brown – violin; David Milsom – viola)
Part E: CONCLUSIONS (David Milsom)
Part F: LIST OF REFERENCES
Part E: CONCLUSIONS
The 'Uppingham' Mozart Duo copies discussed in this article demonstrate the value of performance scores in terms of elucidating contemporaneous practices and, simultaneously, the limitations of such sources. The detail with which Ferdinand David marks at least some of these scores testifies to his artistic personality – one perceives an ardent musical outlook, a cautious performer (committing much of his procedural plan to paper via his markings) and, perhaps most importantly, an artist with (typically for his time) a confident musical outlook, freely adapting or augmenting Mozart’s composition as revealed by his 1783 autograph manuscript and, indeed, the somewhat-contentious 1792 Artaria first edition. At the same time, significant questions as to what David and his performance colleague actually did in their 1868-70 Leipzig performances remain open – underlining, perhaps, the importance of early recorded sound in elucidating essential traits of performance theory, style and practice. It is tempting to slash through the various Gordian Knots that comprise any study of historical performance with allusion to Leopold von Ranke’s invocation to tell events ‘as they truly were’ (‘wie es eigentlich gewesen’); yet the process is rife with difficulties and it will be evident that the performance act is much too hypothetical and ephemeral for the ‘understanding’ transmitted here to be anything more than a practical experiment (albeit an informed one).
In as much as this project can reasonably assert a didactic intent, it is to show how the fascinating and important discoveries at Uppingham in 2009 might bring about interesting performances that are, in the true sense, ‘historically-informed’. In the process, much has been learnt about Ferdinand David’s ideals and, by extension, 19th-century attitudes to the performance of Mozart’s music. Arguably, such perspectives help us to see how Mozart’s music can be understood in of itself, not only in terms of the relatively scarce 18th-century evidence, but also via later traditions that such as that of 19th-century Leipzig musicians who saw themselves as inheritors, guardians and perpetuators of classical values.