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Wie man ein Stuck brod isst: Mozart und das Improvisieren
a paper by Paul van Reijen
from the book:
Mozart and the Netherlands (p. 89)
This paper with other four in this book (presented here by The Keyboard Bugler) is a paper dedicated to the technique of the keyboard playing and/or to the keyboard repertoire by Mozart.

Paul van Reijen starts his essay, by determining the difference between improvisation and fantasizing/fantasy according to the lexical definition of such terms in the 18th century. He analyzes the definition of Fink and creates the needed connection between fantasizing and fantasizing on a keyboard (i.e. keyboard improvisation): as we know, a typical activity of Mozart (who may be capable of spending hours fantasizing at the keyboard... but also at the organ).
      According to Katalin Komlós, the 18th century terms fantasy and fantasizing had precise synonyms in prelude and preamble, extemporize and out of your head.

van Reijen now presents various anecdotes of the natural ability of Mozart in keyboard improvisation. It seems that Mozart, since his very early youth, developed a peculiar type of improvisation characterized by three main genres: the variation, the fugue and the fantasizing itself.
      Even Leopold Mozart was deeply impressed by such natural ability by Wolfgang and moreover, because the so called improvisation performances were never prepared previously in any way: Mozart, even at 14 years old, just was able to fantasize at any keyboard before anyone hic et nunc.
      A famous episode with M. Stadler, Vanhal and Albrechtsberger cleared any doubt about some sort of previous preparation by Mozart and left the audience of master composers simply astonished, because Mozart could go on fantasizing at the keyboard in correct and perfect musical forms for more than one hour and from a theme chosen at the moment by the illustrious public. In the end, Albrechtsberger was simply delighted and totally convinced that Mozart did not need to prepare himself.
            van Reijen gives then a detailed account of various episodes from the life of Mozart (as left written by Leopold himself or by Nannerl or by others) about this amazing natural talent in perfect formal improvisation and tries to identify, in such memoirs, the moment of passage from the improvisation and the composition written on paper as a form of impromptu. Therefore he discusses the proposals of identification of compositions by Mozart, which should have been actually improvisations at the keyboard (see the work of Katalin Komlós).
      Further evidence on Mozart's improvisation technique may come from K475 and from the so called Modulating Prelude studied by Christoph Wolff. It is sure, in the end, that a part of this improvisation material once left written was intended by Mozart to the use also by his sister Nannerl, who, according to the contemporary sources, was just a splendid performer of others' works, but who did not extemporize and who was not a music composer.        
Mozart: Complete Keyboard Works

Bart Van Oort (piano), with Ursula Dutschler (piano)
Mozart: Complete Keyboard Works
S. & L.M. Jennarelli