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Classical 101

Salzburg Festival Features Newly Found Mozart

More on the summer music festival season in Europe: In addition to the Wagner Festival now underway in Bayreuth, Germany, a little farther east the Salzburg Festival is gearing up for their ever-popular event (July 25-August 30). While some people remember Salzburg for providing the setting for the film version of The Sound of Music, the music most closely associated with this beautiful Austrian town is that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, its most famous native citizen. The Salzburg Festival features many events, including opera, drama, and music concerts.  This year, for instance, in addition to Mozart's operas The Marriage of Figaro and Cosi fan tutte, they're presenting Beethoven's Fidelio. But perhaps the most intriguing event will be on a much more modest scale. The International Mozarteum Foundation has announced the discovery of two new piano pieces by Mozart. Few details are being released until the official presentation in a little over a week from now. The full details will be made public on August 2 when the two pieces will be performed on Mozart's original pianoforte. It was just this past January that a new piece by Mozart (about 2 minutes long) was first performed after being discovered in a French library.  It had been found by staff at the city library in Nantes, western France and positively identified in September, 2008. It was played for a small audience in Nantes by violinist Daniel Cuiller.  The people there, who probably knew Mozart's music pretty well, must have felt privileged being the first to hear that music since who-knows-when. While the new pieces being presented in Salzburg are not likely to be major or large-scale works, anything new from one the greatest musical geniuses of all time is bound to be of considerable interest. So, as the festival goers enjoy the many concerts and events in Salzburg in the next few weeks, music history continues to be made as new sounds are heard emanating from an old keyboard in this beautiful Austrian town on August 2.