Hudební Věda

New Findings on the Early Reception of Mozart’s Opera La clemenza di Tito

article summary

Milada Jonášová

Within the framework of Rezeptionsforschung, which focuses on examining the ways and means by which individual operas established themselves in the consciousness of the cultural public, the two operas Mozart composed for Prague offer a broad source base, which is also made use of by the Neue Mozart Ausgabe.

The study provides an overview of these new insights into contemporary copies of the opera La clemenza di Tito made in Prague, which are preserved to­ day in Berlin, London, Salzburg, Vienna, and Zürich. The process of deciphering the nature of the reception of La clemenza di Tito was made more difficult by the fact that the autograph score does not contain the secco recitatives. In the category of important sources with a Bohemian provenance the editor of the Neue Mozart Ausgabe, Franz Giegling, thought particularly highly of the Lobko­wicz score (Source C). The partial involvement of Prague copyists has also been identified in the score from the estate of Carl Thomas Mozart (Source C1) and in the score today in the archive of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vien­ na (Source G). The copyist of the Berlin score copy has been identified as the Prague organist of the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Vitus, Johann Nepomuk Wenzel, who met Mozart personally in Vienna. The copying workshop with the most extensive output of score copies belonged to the double bass player in the Prague Opera orchestra, Anton Grams. The Tito score produced by copyists of Grams’ workshop, where it even fulfilled the function of a Vorlagekopie, and now in the estate of the double bass player Domenico Dragonetti in the British Library in London, was not given sufficient importance in the NMA (Source H). It is a copy close to the autograph score and also contains a German translation of the libretto, which Grams later inserted himself.

This translation of the text of the opera, used in Prague, was hitherto unknown, because no printed version of a German libretto has been preserved, and confirms the early performance of Tito in a Singspiel version in Prague. Prague copies of the Tito score were also of importance for its first printed version (Breitkopf & Härtel in 1809). In fact, this version contains several de­ viations from the autograph score which it has in common with the London score. This London score should be considered as the starting point of the entire Prague copyist tradition surrounding this Mozart opera.

Key words: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; La clemenza di Tito; Anton Grams; Johann Wenzel; Domenico Dragonetti; Prague score copies; copying workshop

Translated by Peter Stephens

The complete text of this article can be found in the printed edition of Hudební věda 2/2021