The Fall of the Gods


Luca Bianchini, Anna Trombetta


Mozart The Fall of the Gods

Editore: Youcanprint
Pagine: 474, Brossura
ISBN: 978-8831681964

«Italian musicians and musicologists Luca Bianchini and Anna Trombetta are among the serious researchers who have tried to get at the naked truth behind Mozart the myth and written several books about the subject.»
(Henry Grynnsten)

«I had an opportunity to read this book and I was utterly amazed at the care taken to provide extensive bibliography of all the sources cited. The claims made about Mozart in this scholarly work reflect not solely the opinions of the authors, but rather the conclusions clearly drawn from historical data.»

Mozart. The Fall of the Gods was adopted during the Triennium of Music History held by Professor Daniele Fusi at the Higher Institute of Musical Studies in Siena. We presented this biography in 24 episodes in Luigi Picardi’s “The Arpeggio” program on Vatican Radio. The book on Mozart’s life and works contains over 2000 references to sources and collects the results of twenty years of studies on Mozart, a composer who has been venerated as a god for over two centuries. We wondered about the reasons for that cult and identified the contradictory points in Mozart’s endless bibliography.

Wild Ideas #18

In Wild Ideas #8, I published an essay about the many questions around Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s music and life that immediately pop out even if you only scratch on the surface of the story, but that everybody seems to ignore.

For this issue, I had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing Luca Bianchini and Anna Trombetta, Italian musicians and musicologists, who have investigated the Mozart family for over twenty years. Here they give much more information on the investigation of the music itself, as well as on the manuscripts of the composer, that I didn’t address in my essay.

- Henry Grynnsten.

The Mozart Question

Interview with Luca Bianchini and Anna Trombetta

In January 2021, I spent about a month looking into the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and found a lot of anomalies in his biography. The result was an essay that was published in Wild Ideas #8, which Luca Bianchini and Anna Trombetta got to read this fall. They, on the other hand, have over two decades’ worth of experience in studies of Mozart, and are also musicologists, which means that they have amassed an enormous amount of detailed knowledge on the composer’s music and manuscripts, besides his biography. This has resulted in a number of books, and they are continuing to publish new finds. Some of this expertise is presented in the below interview, that I had the opportunity to make with them via e-mail, in English.

Some lessons that I’ve learned through this interview, and the small part of their research that I’ve looked into, is that there is a lot of information on the subject that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in all likelihood didn’t write all of the music attributed to him, and that there seems to be many questions about it even among established figures in the musical field – but that they do not dare raise their voices in public. Even the slightest questioning is “dangerous”. The myth of Mozart has simply become so overblown that it’s completely taboo to do anything but follow the tradition.

This kind of unfortunate phenomenon could only happen in the humanities, where tradition and age-old truths can’t be questioned in the same way as in the natural sciences, where everyone has to pay attention to experiments, statistics and mathematical proofs that contradict established findings. Of course, academics and universities in most cases have checks to see to it that we come as close to the truth as possible, but it is clear that they sometimes at least seem to fail spectacularly.

In the last decade, the infamous replication crisis has affected the social and medical, and even the natural sciences, where it has been discovered that it has been impossible to reproduce many scientific studies.4 John P A Ioannidis was one of the people to put the spotlight on this phenomenon in his alarmingly titled essay “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” from 2005.

It seems only logical to assume that there might be even more to question in the humanities, in fields such as literature and music, since they can be said to be much more subjective than other fields (you can’t so easily write equations about literature and music). That academic research in the humanities is repressed in this way is highly disappointing, since it distorts our view of history and the world. Who knows in how many areas and about how many historical characters we have been entirely wrong.

It seems only logical to assume that there might be even more to question in the humanities, in fields such as literature and music, since they can be said to be much more subjective than other fields (you can’t so easily write equations about literature and music). That academic research in the humanities is repressed in this way is highly disappointing, since it distorts our view of history and the world. Who knows in how many areas and about how many historical characters we have been entirely wrong.

Lastly, I would like to thank Luca Bianchini and Anna Trombetta for the interview and wish them good luck in their research in the future.

Henry Grynnsten: You are both Italian musicians and musicologists. What composers have you been most interested in through the years?

Luca Bianchini & Anna Trombetta: We have dealt with many composers, especially from the 1700s and 1800s. We have revised vocal and instrumental works and music that were performed in first modern performance in European theaters. In addition to Quirino Gasparini’s Mitridate re di Ponto and an Aria by Mozart, staged this year as a world premiere in Switzerland, we have revised Sisara, Verter, San Luigi Gonzaga, Un avviso ai maritati, piano concerts, symphonies, a Cantata for bass by Johann Simon Mayr, Cimarosa’s Armida Immaginaria for the Montpellier theater and for the International Festival of Valle d’Itria, La Semiramide in villa and Paisiello’s Zingari in Fiera for the Paisiello Festival in Taranto, Pacini’s Medea directed by Richard Bonynge, broadcast by RAI 3, staged again for the Festival dei Due Mari in Taormina and resumed this year in Germany by the Theater für Niedersachsen in Hildesheim; Lorenzino de ’Medici for the Bongiovanni record company; Pacini’s Niobe for the REC Music Foundation; In Filanda by Pietro Mascagni for the Mercadante theater in Naples; Zingarelli’s Oratories, Donizetti’s symphonies, Vivaldi’s Dorilla in Tempe, Bartolomeo Bruni’s Il Toberne, as well as operas, concerts, symphonies, chamber and sacred music by Pacini, Jommelli, Traetta, Donizetti, and others.

HG: Was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart a genius?

LB&AT: Mozart was not a genius, but he had talent. The stories of little Mozart are full of anecdotes. Cleaning the official biographies from the inventions, we know that at the age of three Wolfgang was pressing the keys of the harpsichord, imitating his sister. At the age of four he played short pieces of music on the spinet and when he was five he played simple minuets. His sister copied the music for him, because Wolfgang was unable to write the notes independently. His father Leopold signed the music with Wolfgang’s name.

Mozart was not a genius even as a teenager. In Bologna he risked not passing the exam to become a Philharmonic Academician. If he had delivered the exam assignment as he composed it, they would have rejected it. Father Martini intervened and helped him by passing him the right solution. When the examination board voted on his admission, not all votes were in favour, as Leopold claimed. His exam paper was judged only sufficient due to the circumstances.

HG: What is the role of the cult of the genius in classical music and regarding Mozart in particular?

LB&AT: More than 70 % of the music performed by Furtwängler during the Third Reich centered on Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. These three geniuses of Viennese classicism were claimed to be geniuses because they were Aryans.

The Nazis wanted to ascertain that Mozart did not have any Jewish ancestors. For that reason they studied Mozart’s ancestors from around 1400 onward. They found that his father Leopold was a perfect Aryan son of a bookbinder from Augsburg. They discovered that Mozart’s ancestors were also all Aryans. Mozart became one of the most vetted musicians in their attempts to determine that his ancestors were racially pure. The lineage of his mother Anna Maria was Dinaric [referring to the “Dinaric race”, used in the first part of the 20th century to denote ethnic groups in southeast Europe,7 HG]. For the Nazis this coincidence was significant. Only from the union of Aryan and Dinaric blood could geniuses be born. Nazi musicologists deliberately ignored foreign composers, who couldn’t be geniuses. They also held a congress on music and race to establish who was a genius or not.

The general theme of music and race was illustrated in the opening lecture by Professor Friedrich Blume, celebrated today for his Mozart studies. Blume paid tribute to the racist writer Richard Eichenauer. His intervention paved the way for an immense amount of anti-Semitic and xenophobic material that produced incalculable damage to the history of music. According to the Nazi musicologist Erich Schenk, the thaumaturgical properties of Mozart’s music came from a “Nordic-Dinaric hybrid that derives partly from his Aryan father and partly from his Dinaric mother”. Today it would seem that Mozart’s music, unlike that of other composers, in addition to making cows produce more milk, make children become geniuses.

HG: Mozart lived in a particular period, in which there was a fashion for child prodigies. Did his father Leopold take advantage of this?

LB&AT: Leopold immediately thought of the idea that he could make Wolfgang a great artist to take around Europe, in the hopes of finding an adequate position for himself in a city. He would become Kapellmeister outside of Salzburg. He would prove his worth to everyone, since no one in Salzburg liked him. Leopold deluded himself that he had a genius at home, “a gift from God”, with which he could identify. Wolfgang was docile and obedient. If it hadn’t been for that proud father, he would have nurtured his undeniable talent in school. He would have studied under the guidance of some master. He not only would have stood out as an improviser, but also in the art of composition. This was not the case, because Leopold chose to forge ahead in a hurry for his children. He immediately had Nannerl and Wolfgang exhibited as circus attractions. He whisked them from place to place, even at the risk of their lives, in order to amaze a general public of incompetents that was only looking for fun.

HG: Is it realistic to think that children who have no experience and are emotionally immature can create music that is as good as music written by people who have both experience and emotional maturity?

LB&AT: No, it is unrealistic. To compose an opera, a composer must be able to experience the emotions contained in a libretto. And if the verses are in Italian, a German composer must master the language to grasp all the subtleties of the text. In 1768 Leopold wrote to his friend Hagenauer and told him that everyone in Vienna believed that little Mozart could not have been able to compose the opera La Finta Semplice. According to the people, Mozart had drawn a subject so poor from it that it could not be performed. They claimed that their father had written the music, and not Wolfgang.

Leopold tried in vain to silence the rumors, but any person of judgment would have reached the same conclusion. Everyone believed, including the impresario, that behind that music was some not too experienced adult. Some spread the rumor that the work was mediocre, others claimed that it did not follow the words or the prosody, because Wolfgang did not have a sufficient grasp of Italian. La Finta Semplice K.51, a playful drama for music in three acts by Marco Coltellini, was not appreciated. Leopold tried in vain to convince everyone that Wolfgang had composed it, but his son was only twelve years old. From the autograph manuscript it is clear that there are always two writers, father and son. The impresario Afflisio proved adamant, communicating to Leopold that he would not invest his money in the undertaking. The matter was over for him. If Leopold persisted, he threatened that he would stage the opera by making a parody of it, making fun of Wolfgang, his father and the Salzburg court.

These events were followed in Vienna by an investigation conducted by Count Johann Wenzel von Sporck, general director of the court theater. Sporck agreed with the impresario. The Mozarts did not get paid. Leopold protested to the Emperor, who however agreed with the impresario. The rumors that circulated in the capital, namely that the boy had not written the music and did not know Italian, were thus confirmed. The story also had serious repercussions in Salzburg, since Leopold had always presented himself as Kapellmeister in the service of His Princely Grace, a title that was not his. Even the Archbishop of Salzburg did not appreciate the conduct of the Mozarts, nor the result of the investigation. The prelate angrily expressed his disappointment. Since Leopold did not return to Salzburg as quickly as he should have, on March 18 he decided to suspend his salary. In short, Leopold looked like a cheat.

HG: I claim that an artist must leave traces of his personality in his art. Are there traces of Wolfgang’s bizarre personality in (what is claimed to be) his music? I’m thinking about his scatological and other interests, his strange behavior etc.?

LB&AT: Yes, in the obscene canons. But even where there is a trace of Mozart’s bizarre personality, the music is not his. Wolfgang, considered by some to be the greatest expert in counterpoint, did not even know how to compose the music of the scurrilous canon “Leck mir den Arsch fein recht schön sauber” (“Lick my arse right well and clean”) K.233 for three voices. The “pure” image of Mozart, “white as a swan”, is a romantic illusion. For such a superficial joke Wolfgang had to draw on the music of another composer, for he was unable to compose one on his own. The music of K.233 is not by Mozart but by Trnka, who had written this very canon to the words of Metastasio: “You are jealous, it’s true”. In modern performances, instead of advancing the obscene copied version, it would be well enough to recover the original words and music. Mozart does not have a great personality. Mozart is not an innovator. He is a kind of musical chameleon who has changed his style several times. There are those who have distinguished about sixty musical styles over the course of his life.

HG: How and why did you first begin to suspect that there was something not right in the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

LB&AT: In 1999 we were convinced that everything we had been taught about Mozart at the University of Musicology was true. We were on vacation, in the summer, sunbathing on the beach. In a 6 newspaper we accidentally read an article about a mathematician, Giorgio Taboga, who questioned Mozart’s genius. We were convinced of the opposite, but this topic intrigued us. We started asking ourselves a few questions. We read the biographies on Mozart and found that most of them are based on anecdotes and stories, so we double-checked all the primary sources. From that moment we have dedicated more than twenty years to Mozart, studying his life, his work, without taking anything for granted, questioning everything.

HG: What methods do you use to find out what is behind the official story?

LB&AT: We rely on sources, especially primary sources. The word “source” refers to the concept of “water source” and identifies both a continuous stream of water that flows spontaneously from a rock or from the ground, and a document studied by historians. When we say “to go to the sources” we want to give the idea of the researcher who, driven by the thirst for truth, draws from the source of historical knowledge. As in nature the water that has just gushed is crystalline and then gets dirty as it flows, so in philology a distinction is made between primary sources and secondary and tertiary sources. Sunday tourists do not climb up to the top of the mountain to enjoy the purity of the water, but are content to drink it cool comfortably from the streams that begin to descend along the rocks. They don’t care if it contains more or less impurities. Those less fussy sip it directly from the streams just below, putting their health at risk. Amateur historians do about the same when they rely on secondary or tertiary sources, that is, on studies that have been circulating for some time on a given topic. We are palaeographers and philologists and instead we go to the primary sources. Those who are historians by trade cannot limit themselves to hearsay, but must often go back to the top of the mountain until they reach the primary documents.

Sources in general are written texts or artifacts that are the result of human activity. In the musical field they are identified with the composer’s autograph scores, his letters, the texts written in his own hand, or his diary to which he entrusts his thoughts, but also the newspaper articles, the comments of others, the letters of family members, paintings, etc. etc. The historian, however, is not an antiquarian, who is interested in everything about the past merely by the fact that it is ancient. On the contrary, the fascination of his profession consists in the possibility that he has to select what is most relevant to the present, leaving everything else behind.

Returning to the discourse of the water source and secondary and tertiary streams, depending on how they mix with each other, the sources do not all have the same value. Criticism usually distinguishes them on the basis of a hierarchy: primary, secondary and tertiary. For Mozart, the primary source is the original document, the one written by Wolfgang, that is, a first-hand source of information. Sources become secondary if they describe, discuss, interpret or comment on one or more primary sources. Tertiary sources can be a school manual, a catalog, an encyclopedia, that is, a reinterpreted summary of one or more secondary sources.

Before using a source, we must first find out if it is authentic, who produced it and in what context. It is necessary to ascertain formal authenticity, if the document is made by a particular author, in the declared time and place, if it is formally true or the work of a forger and to what extent it is reliable. We subject the sources to extrinsic and intrinsic examination. If we talk about musical manuscripts, we analyze the support that is the writing material, that is the paper, the watermark, the binding, the writing of the notes, the way of indicating the titles, the agogics and the dates.

The extrinsic examination cannot always ensure the authenticity of each document. In the case of copies, the intrinsic examination that carefully examines the content of the document comes to our aid. A letter from Wolfgang, for example, must be analyzed to ascertain whether what is written is in contradiction with facts that are already known for certain, or if it is false. A document recognized as fake can completely lose its source value. Once the formal authenticity of a document has been established, we examine its content to ensure that there are no contradictions with known facts. And here various disciplines come into play. As historians and musical philologists we deal with the critical analysis of all sources concerning Mozart and we adopt scientific methods.

HG: What are your main ideas about the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

LB&AT: Over two hundred years, the image of Mozart has been covered with layers upon layers of hagiographies. During the necessary work of peeling them away, we have met colleagues who, like us, were aware of the plagiarism, errors, and inconsistencies. Publishers, record companies and foundations have spread unfounded information. We have noted the problems raised here and there in the vast literature, and have discovered many of them ourselves. We have recognized, under the patina of time, an unpublished Mozart. He is not the musician we have had in front of our eyes for years. Instead of a god, there is a man, who had to struggle in life but was sanctified after death.

As a child, Mozart suffered from the delusions of a cheating father, who stole his childhood by denying him adequate education. As a young man, the archbishop preferred other composers over him, and the courts held him in low esteem, relegating him to a marginal position even in Vienna. In death, his greedy wife forged the manuscripts to make the most of them. Miserably compensated when he was alive, and forgotten at the time of his death, he was transformed by businessmen into a brand. The record industry has used his most insignificant musical fragments in order to make money from them, the nationalist biographers have invented the music of the Habsburg Empire, the so-called “Viennese classicism”, all based on the stories of the child prodigy. Finally, the Nazis distorted the facts in order to praise Mozart as an Aryan genius. Even Salzburg, after almost a hundred years of oblivion, transformed Mozart into a business. There are those who use his image not only to sell musical events, but also sweets and gadgets. Mozart has become a myth, a religious faith, a trademark.

HG: What methods do you think that the Mozarts used to present music as written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart? Plagiarizing, stealing, commissioning, buying already written music, using music by forgotten composers?

LB&AT: We analyzed the manuscripts of the Italian period from 1770 to 1773 and we were able to discover the method used by the Mozarts in those years. The Mozarts used various systems to copy music. Leopold Mozart and his son plagiarized the music of others by changing tonality, mode, rhythm, note values. Wolfgang then made a fair copy and his father corrected it one last time. It was he who always organized and directed the work. It was Leopold who wrote the signature, the date and place, the dynamic signs, the indications of tempo, the name of the instruments.

We were able to discover their method because we found the model they used. To write the Mitridate re di Ponto, their first serious opera, staged at the Ducal theater in Milan on 26 December 1770, they used as a model the Mitridate re di Ponto that Quirino Gasparini had written for the Regio theater in Turin on 31 January 1767. For reasons of space, we cannot here present all the examples that can be found in our book Mozart in Italia.

From Gasparini’s opera, the Mozarts not only appropriated the themes of the arias, but they even copied some secco recitatives, those that even a simple music copyist was able to write. Let’s take a recitative from Mitridate. It is a secco recitative. Anyone could write one. We ourselves improvise secco recitatives on the piano without problems, and we are not Mozart. In Mitridate re di Ponto, Mozart did not write secco recitatives independently.

For example, below, Mozart’s Recitative is almost the same as the secco recitative that Gasparini composed three years earlier.

We compared Gasparini’s opera with the Mozart autograph drafts found in the National Library of France and in this way we were also able to identify some pieces of Mozart that are incomplete. We reconstructed an aria that the NMA critical edition of Mozart’s operas considered incomplete, thanks to the fact that we found the model from which the Mozarts were copying. The Aria will be premiered in Switzerland in December 2021. We spotted another Mozart aria that was considered unknown, for it is a lacking words aria. In our book Mozart in Italia we describe how Mozart plagiarized all of Gasparini’s Mithridates with dozens of examples, from the introductory symphony to the last piece, in total more than two hours of music.

HG: Is it possible to give rough estimates of how much of each category you think there is in what is supposed to be written by WA Mozart?

LB&AT: Until the end of the Italian period, Mozart wrote a lot, but composed little or nothing. For the rest, just look at his personal catalog of works. But there’s a problem. A lot of Mozart’s music is unsigned, and the date and place are missing. Today, music is attributed to Mozart by referring to his personal catalog, that Mozart would have written from 1784 to 1791. Without that catalog, much of Mozart’s music cannot be attributed to Mozart, for example the Symphony K.551 Jupiter. The Jupiter without that catalog is anonymous, because on Mozart’s fair copy there is not the author’s name, but only the word “Symphony”. Except for the catalog, it is not noted anywhere that he composed it.

The catalog is a huge problem. In our book Mozart. La costruzione di un genio we show that the catalog is a forgery. The catalog was not written by Mozart. It was written around the year 1800 to attribute a lot of music to Mozart that was otherwise anonymous.

One of the problems with that catalog is the paper. A letter from 1802 was found with the same watermark as the catalog paper. The watermark indicates the years and the place where the paper was produced. Thanks to the watermark, it is possible to get an objective dating of the paper. Considering the times of production, sale and use of the sheets of paper, it is calculated that on average the date of a document can be moved forward or backward by 6 or 7 years.

A watermarked paper that is found in a document from 1802 can therefore go back to 1795 or reach a maximum of 1809. It will never reach 1784, because it is about twenty years away. The 1802 letter therefore contradicts the year 1784, when Mozart would have begun writing his catalog. This same watermark is not found in other music by Mozart, nor in letters used by him, or by his wife, or in the musical sketches recovered at his home. It was not employed by Leopold, or by Nannerl. And there is no musician in Vienna who ever used it when Mozart was alive.

The catalog is a fake. But there are hundreds of other contradictions. There are several omissions that we point out, and we describe them all in our books.

The handwriting is also clearly false. For example, Mozart wrote the word “den” in his autographs like this:

but in the catalog “den” it is written like this:

The handwriting is incompatible.

In the same years as we studied Mozart’s catalog, Professor Martin Jarvis, whom we did not know at the time, also did research on Mozart’s handwriting, independently of us, in Australia, and came to similar conclusions. He wrote us about a catalog entry and he described it in the recent conference held at the University of Darwin, during which he also spoke about us and our studies. The catalog is fake and Mozart did not write a lot of the most famous music attributed to him. Someone has forged the catalog to attribute music to him that is not his own. For example, the famous clarinet concerto K 622 is not by him, because the autograph is missing. There is only the catalog that attributes it to Mozart.

So, to answer the question, Mozart composed practically nothing before 1773, and a lot of the music attributed to him after 1784 is not by him.

HG: Do you think that it is possible that Nannerl Mozart wrote some of the music of her brother?

LB&AT: Yes, for example in Nannerl’s notebook. We talk about it in our English book Mozart the Fall of the Gods. It is probable that she wrote some pieces for her brother.

HG: Why has all music written by Nannerl Mozart disappeared?

LB&AT: We did not deal specifically with Nannerl’s writing and her compositions. We know there are studies about it. Professor Martin Jarvis at Darwin University, Australia, has dealt thoroughly with this topic.

HG: Is it possible to give rough estimates of how much of the music “by WA Mozart” you think was written by whom, for example Leopold Mozart x percent, Wolfgang M x percent, Nannerl M x percent, other composers x percent?

LB&AT: Until 1773, from what we have seen, there is not a single piece of music that is without problems. Either the signature is missing, the location is missing, or the dates are missing. Mozart did not compose almost anything independently in Italy, his operas included. He always wrote in fair copy what his father was giving him. All the pieces of the Italian period are dubious. Let’s just take a few as an example.

In the Aria K.71, for example, there are no indications about the author’s name and the place, date, time, and even the names of the instruments are missing, which were added provisionally by the publisher Johann Anton André in the early nineteenth century. It is impossible to establish with certainty whether this aria for tenor is by Leopold, Wolfgang, or some other musician.

The Molto Allegro K.72a was bombastically baptized by Köchel as the Sonata di Verona, as if it was a finished piece, when instead it is only a fragment of a movement, perhaps of a sonata. It is one of the pieces arbitrarily included in the Köchel catalog, which appears in a painting depicting Mozart seated at the harpsichord. The music is not by Wolfgang nor by Leopold. The only source in which it exists is that painting. It is not an autograph source and it is painted, a unique case, in oil colors.

The autograph of the Symphony in C major K.73 is in Berlin, but it does not have the author’s name and only the word “Symphony” is written on the first page. The K.77 is taken from Metastasio’s Demofoonte, Act III, scenes 4 and 5, and was presumably written in Milan in March 1770. The pieces would have been performed in Milan in the Firmian house on 12 March 1770, but they are not overwritten text on the partial autograph, preserved in Berlin, and the place, date and signature are missing. From what appears on the primary source, which is very problematic, it could have been composed by Leopold, his son or who knows who.

K.78 has no superscription to indicate date, place and author, so the primary source says nothing about who composed it and it is not certain that it was written in Milan, nor that it was ever performed. Mozart put it in fair copy, but Leopold often intervened and the last word is his, not to mention the fact that a third person has also had a hand in it. Given the teamwork, it is probable that Leopold wrote it in a draft, that his son rewrote it with his best pen and that a copyist then checked it for errors.

The String Quartet No. 1 K.80 was written by Leopold Mozart and his son. From bar 13 of the Minuet, for example, we can see in the manuscript that they worked together, and at certain points it is no longer possible to distinguish what the one from the other. The Trio, on the other hand, is all in Leopold’s hand, who also thought about signing the quartet with the name of Wolfgang, arranging the dynamic signs, correcting errors, and completing with the name of the instruments and the titles. Listening to the quartet’s movements you feel that they are heterogeneous and in fact were not all written on the same day in Lodi [in Lombardy, Italy. HG.], as the father writes on top of the first sheet. The title written by Leopold does not correspond with the truth.

For the Köchel catalog, the Quartet No. 1 may have been composed between March 15, 1770 in Lodi and August 1773 in Salzburg. The Mozarts would have finished and looked at it again perhaps in March 1774, or even later. The Rondo should be the last added tempo. All four movements then have the unusual characteristic of being in the key of G, and the first three of being built on the model of the sonata in the style of Giuseppe Sammartini.

Wolfgang made so many mistakes in this quartet’s trio, while he was making a fair copy, that he forced his father to copy it all over again. Leopold also had to rearrange the accompaniment, which sounded grotesque as it was, and move the violin parts down an octave, as it would otherwise have sounded shrill.

The secco recitative and aria in G major K.143 show, as another example, the mixed autographs of Wolfgang and Leopold, and in a fair copy, but the time signatures, the indications of the name of the composer, the date, the place, the name of the instruments, and this time also the number of pages, are missing. Even the watermark of the only manuscript found in Washington at the Library of Congress can no longer be read. There are many other examples and we cannot list them all here.

According to our findings, we think Mozart wrote about 10 % of what is attributed to him. The rest of the music of the Italian period is almost always prepared and then corrected by Leopold, but very often plagiarized from other authors.

HG: What composers are the ones the Mozarts used the most to present as music by “by WA Mozart”?

LB&AT: Many: Gasparini, Jommelli, Traetta, Paisiello, Myslivecek etc. For example, in the book Mozart in Italia, we show how music from Jommelli’s Armida abbandonata was copied into the opera Lucio Silla. The Aria n.11 by Giunia “Ah se il crudel periglio” is in 4/4 in the key of B flat major, like the aria by Armida “If piety, love” in scene VIII of the first act of Armida abbandonata by Niccolò Jommelli. Not only are the embellishments practically the same. but the melody is also a plagiarization of Italian music, as seen below. In the transcription we have hidden the bar signs in order to superimpose the melodic line, which in Jommelli is more articulated.

Mozart actually had to bow once again to the will of the singer, who, discarding his version, must have imposed the music of Jommelli, having interpreted the Armida abandonata at the San Carlo in Naples in May–June 1770. Wolfgang said that Jommelli’s music was antiquated, and then he used it two years later, in 1772! Mozart is comparable, in these cases, to a tailor who patches old clothes, and Leopold used that image several times to suggest the stitching together of the pieces, to the detriment of the coherence of the poem, so that even in the arias entrusted to Silla, the music of the Salzburgers did not take into account the character around which the drama revolves. Written to please the interpreter, the notes often sound conventional. To this is added the Mozart’s inexperience in rendering the natural metric of the Italian text into music.

HG: What do you think of the “angry visitors” that looked for WA Mozart, and where did his money go?

LB&AT: In our opinion, the money must have gone into the purchase of the music. For example the Requiem. Otherwise, the debts that Mozart has accumulated cannot be explained.

HG: The death of Mozart is mysterious like so much of his story. What do you think happened?

LB&AT: The Hofdemels knew Mozart. Her husband had lent him money, and his wife, daughter of Gotthard Pokorny, Brünn’s Kapellmeister, was his pupil. Franz Hofdemel was the musician’s brother in the lodge. When he learned that she was expecting a child with Wolfgang, he first beat Mozart, causing him a brain hemorrhage, possibly following a fall, which according to Dr Davies led to semi-paralysis, slow breathing and swelling of the cheeks, and then he cut Hofdemel’s wife with a razor. Eventually he committed suicide. That Mozart was a dissolute adulterer was well known at the time.

HG: Is there a single piece of evidence that could settle the matter definitively, if it was found, or is it more the weight of all that has been found already that will convince people in the end?

LB&AT: There is a lot of evidence and many examples that can be mentioned. The problem is that Mozart has become like a legend, a mythological character, a god, to ordinary people. Even in the face of evidence, it can not be admitted that of the 626 pieces attributed to him, at least 5/6 are false attributions, and that many of the others present problems. In our books we mention hundreds of them. Here we report just a few short examples. Mozart even plagiarized the accompanying recitatives:

He plagiarized the arias. “Nel sen mi palpita”, which Kunze takes as an example of originality, is also a plagiarization, of Gasparini, and so is section B, which the Mozarts copied by changing the tempo from 3/8 (with double values) to 4/4.

Just look at the autographs to notice the plagiarism in the arias. Below is another Aria. On the left is Gasparini and on the right Mozart.

Mozart plagiarized the instrumental pieces:

Mozart also plagiarized the most famous melodies, for example, to stay with Gasparini:

In our books, we cite thousands of problems and contradictions in Mozart’s biography and works and we have identified many examples of plagiarism. If people believe that Mozart is a god, Mozart’s musicology is theology, whoever deals with Mozart is a priest, the scientific method no longer exists and there is no definitive example that can convince anyone that Mozart is a scam.

HG: Can new, revealing documents still be found?

LB&AT: Of course, there are other works, for example La finta giardiniera taken from Anfossi, etc. Now that we have described the way Mozart and his father used to appropriate the music of other masters, it will be easier to find out, by comparing the music, the sources Mozart copied from. For example for the Magic Flute, for the Requiem, Le Nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, to name just a few.

New documents reveal the truth about the Mozarts, and others will be discovered. We talked about one in our recent book Mozart. The Construction of a Genius. In memory of the Mozarts’ stay in France, the Mozarteum in Salzburg preserves an anonymous poem, written in Paris in 1764. No one has ever wondered if the date and place are correct. The title “Sur les enfans de Mr: Mozart” is explicit in indicating the dedicatees, Nannerl and Wolfgang. What makes us suspicious is the continuation of rhymes that do not match and certain metric inaccuracies, which the critic Edmond de Guerle had also noticed. He wrote in the Parisian Revue chrétienne of 1873 that this must have been the work of an inexperienced and “justly unknown” French poet, because of those errors. De Guerle had read the poem in the biography of Mozart by Otto Jahn, who had reported it without paying attention to the anomalies.

The poem, at the Mozarteum, is a late copy of an original by Leopold Mozart. Everyone thinks that the proud father brought it back as a tribute by a French poet to the talents of his children, but in reality the author of the poem is Barnabé Farmian Durosoy and the text has nothing to do with the Mozarts. It was written to honor French musicians, whom the poet praises and compares to the gods of Olympus. Leopold simply copied a few lines, cutting the names of the composers Claude Balbâtre, Pierre Gaviniés, Provere, Jean-Baptiste Duport, and Jean-Pierre Guignon, who were the pride of France at the time and were the actual addressees of the poem. He replaced their names with his children’s by changing the pronouns “them” to “you”, this time referring to Wolfgang and Nannerl. And so the encomiastic text, which had as its objects the French composers, was easily transformed into praise of the two Mozarts that even the gods admire in the Hereafter. A real scam. Leopold had reduced himself to plagiarizing the third canto of the collection Les sens, a poem in 6 14 songs by Durosoy, beginning to copy the lyric from the middle down, so that it would be more difficult to trace the source. Since computers had not yet been invented, he could not imagine that one day the scam would be discovered. For a comparison, we show below the translation of the two French poems, Leopold’s version and alongside the original Durosoy version.

Poetry tampered with by Leopold
(copy at the Mozarteum)
On the children of Mr. Mozart

Mortals favored by gods and kings!
What power does harmony have! When the modulated sounds sigh under your fingers, What subtlety and what science!

To praise you, all that remains is silence. With what feeling the wood vibrates and quivers, A mute body becomes sonorous and sensitive: For you happy mortals, nothing is impossible; Everything, even touch, has spirit in you.

Durosoy’s original poem

The sense of touch

Beloved mortals and by gods and kings, Balbatri of Greece, Amphion of France; What power does harmony have, When the modulated sounds sigh under your fingers? What subtlety and what science, When Gaviniés, Provere and Duport and Guignon, They dare without too much pride to challenge Apollo!

To praise them all that remains is silence. With what feeling the wood vibrates and quivers! A mute body becomes both sonorous and sensitive. Nothing is impossible to those happy mortals: Everything, even touch, has spirit in them.

HG: Can you name other researchers that question the story about WA Mozart?

LB&AT: Of course, we are in contact with Professor Martin Jarvis, of the University of Darwin in Australia. He has written extraordinarily important studies on handwriting, and is supported by other colleagues. He has read our studies and appreciated them. At his last conference held in Darwin he talked about us and screened the cover of our book Mozart. The Fall of the Gods. Other researchers deal with watermarks. Many write to us to communicate the discoveries of possible examples of plagiarism that they ask us to verify.

HG: Have you received any recognition from the classical music establishment for your ideas? Is it changing or is the resistance firm?

LB&AT: In Italy we have become the reference point of Mozart’s critical musicology. Many things have changed in recent years, since our first book Goethe, Mozart e Mayr. Fratelli illuminati, with a preface by Alberto Basso, was published, and especially after the English translation of our book Mozart. The Fall of the Gods came out.

We have been invited to the Vatican Radio for 24 broadcasts, we have given lectures at the Bari Conservatory and in music schools, for example at the Civica in Milan, and our books have been used, for example at the Siena Conservatory. In 2021, Mozart in Italia was the reference text for semiography courses at the Bari Conservatory.

People have been trying to censor us for six years, but without succeeding. A small group, that knows little or nothing about Mozart’s autographs and handwriting, has written and disseminated defamatory material on the net. The haters, linked above all to the Mozart institutions that have invested money in it, urge users not to read us, to censor us, to silence us. They have even created sites against us, “against Bianchini and Trombetta”, but without results.

We have many supporters, and they are growing in number every day. Professor Alberto Basso has phoned and exchanged ideas with us on the book Mozart in Italia, which is dedicated to him. Many write to us and send us studies and documents. Professor Daniel Freeman has also written to us about Myslivecek and Mozart. We are in contact with Neal Zaslaw. He asked to preview the chapters of our book Mozart in Italia on Gasparini’s and Mozart’s Mitridate re di Ponto, in order to be able to quote our discoveries in the next edition he edits of the Köchel Verzeichnis.

Bauer-Deutsch has published incorrect themes of Mozart’s music and the errors have spread all over the world and in all Mozart’s letter books. Professor Cliff Eisen, from the Music Department of King’s College London, got in touch with us to find the right version. In our book Mozart in Italia, we publish these Mozart themes for the first time, as they are found in Mozart’s letters, remaining faithful to what Mozart wrote.

Many university professors are helping us, in Italy and abroad. But some are afraid. One person in particular has helped us a lot, but he has specifically asked not to be named. Even a famous English conductor came to visit us. He had lunch with us, supports us, and helps us, but he also doesn’t want to be named. He fears the Mozart “mafia” which censors those who criticize traditional studies. If you write that Kunze did not see the score of Gasparini’s Mitridate and that he made scores of mistakes in writing what he wrote, or that Rosen wrote something incorrect about “classicism”, it cannot be said openly in those circles, however correct. Mozart is big business. Proving with primary sources, as we do, that Mozart is not a genius but a normal man, and a composer that was not even especially gifted, certainly annoys many people.

HG: Why have musicologists or historians not questioned the story of WA Mozart earlier, or have they?

LB&AT: Usually Mozart musicologists or historians look at one problem at a time. They don’t look at them all together. And they don’t have the experience of forensic experts for verification. Many lack basic training in analyzing sources. The situation is dire. Let’s take for example a theme that Mozart wrote in his letter of August 4, 1770. The ones below are main reference texts, which have benefited from resources and funds of hundreds of thousands of euros. The first is the Köchel catalog, first edition, the second is Cliff Eisen on the book of letters and on the site “In Mozart’s Words”, linked to Mozart Ways, the third is the Bauer-Deutsch to which all universities in the world refer.


Let’s list the differences starting with Bauer-Deutsch and Cliff Eisen, who in example 2 and 3 make a mistake in writing the values at the third bar and instead of the sixty-fourths put the thirty-seconds out of order twice. The error is in the English, French, German and Italian pages of the site “In Mozart’s Words” and is also found in the book of Eisen edited by Il Saggiatore. The trill, according to Bauer Deutsch and Eisen, is only one. The Köchel 1 catalog, at the top of the list, instead invents a bass that Mozart did not write, and shows only three bars of the incipit instead of four and leaves out the acciaccaturas. Above it says “1. Allegro”, suggesting that there are more movements that do not exist, and the date 1768 is invented. To compare the Bauer-Deutsch, example 3 in the list, with the others, there are more ligatures and staccatos. Finally, looking at all the musical themes, we notice that Köchel likes to close with the double bar line and the most marked line on the right, and the remaining two without bar lines. The theme is one and it should be the same.

Comparing the versions, one realizes the state of neglect and the approximate way in which Mozart studies have been conducted at the highest levels. The so-called experts are unable even to write a 2/4 bar, to count the trills, write a trivial slur, and they have invented the bass. They don’t even agree to send us a skimpy musical theme like this, and they make “musically illiterate” mistakes, as a student commented at one of our lessons at the Conservatory.

We were curious to see what is written in the primary source, that is, Mozart’s original, to see who was right. However, there is a problem, because Wolfgang’s letter is divided into two sheets, and the first part is at the Stiftung in Salzburg. The second, the most interesting, because it includes the music themes, is in Lisbon. On the Stiftung website there is the signature “Biblioteca do Palácio Nacional da Ajuda: inv. 53149 / A”, but that too is wrong. We discovered, after several attempts, that the second half of the letter of 4 August 1770 is somewhere else.

In the book Mozart in Italia we explain everything in detail and publish the correct version, which does not match any of the examples we have seen before, because they are all wrong. What did the consultants of the letter site and those of Mozart Ways, the editors of the Köchel catalog and of Bauer-Deutsch check? What were they paid for? And what about all the universities that haven’t noticed that a 2/4 measure is wrong? We are only two people, we do not receive any funds, we dedicate our lives to research, we have identified the error and we have corrected it. Universities have unlimited means, money, and not only were they wrong to transcribe this theme in 2/4, but also all the themes of the letter of August 4, 1770, which are all wrong, as we show in our new book Mozart in Italia.

Instead of working on the autographs, the “experts” use premade transcripts, thus passing on copy-from-copy errors. To return to the two examples above, Eisen took the three incipits directly from Bauer-Deutsch and Bauer-Deutsch in turn took them from Schiedermair’s edition of Mozart’s letters published in 1914 (image below), but none of them verify what’s really on the original manuscript. Under these conditions, musicology, deprived of the scientific method and of a control system, is left free to self-refer.

Ludwig Schiedermair (1914)
Bauer-Deutsch (1962), derived from Schiedermair
Eisen (2011), derived from Bauer-Deutsch

Academic Mozart studies today are not as scientific as people think. After all, if Mozart is a god, the musicology that worships Mozart is not a scientific discipline, but a theology. It is a commercial theology that sells holy cards and doesn’t want to deal with problems.

HG: What conclusions can we draw more generally from your research into Mozart?

LB&AT: There is no definitive book on Mozart. If the definitive books existed, at school they would still be taught that the Earth is flat and that the sun revolves around it and woe to dissent. The only stories that never change are fairy tales that children always want to hear in the same way every night before going to bed, even if Mozart’s biography throughout time has been more like a fairy tale than the life of a real man. The Mozart enthusiast, in order to approach the sources correctly and be treated as an intelligent, reasoning individual with a critical sense, must exercise his mind to doubt. For some, being a historian is simple: just read everything and check the citations, but in reality, mastering the historical method involves hard and tiring work.

HG: What are your books and where can you buy them?

LB&AT: We have written many books on Mozart. One is in English: Mozart. The Fall of The Gods – Part I, Youcanprint, Tricase 2020. Also available online: IBS, Amazon, LaFeltrinelli, Hoepli and around the world (ISBN: 978-88-92602-75-5):

Mozart. The Fall of the Gods was adopted during the Triennium of Music History held by Professor Daniele Fusi at the Higher Institute of Musical Studies in Siena. We presented this biography in 24 episodes in Luigi Picardi’s “The Arpeggio” program on Vatican Radio. The book on Mozart’s life and works contains over 2000 references to sources and collects the results of twenty years of studies on Mozart, a composer who has been venerated as a god for over two centuries. We wondered about the reasons for that cult and identified the contradictory points in Mozart’s endless bibliography.

There is also a second part, which at the moment is only in Italian: Mozart. The Fall of the Gods – Part Two, Youcanprint, Tricase 2017, also available online: IBS, Amazon, LaFeltrinelli, Hoepli (ISBN: 978-88-92653 -39-9). The book was presented at Cremona Musica, the largest international fair of musical instruments, in 2018. There are many novelties in this substantial critical biography, for example the unpublished reading of the Requiem. We have analyzed the main chamber music works, concerts, all plays and the sacred production.

Another book is Mozart. The Magic Flute, Youcanprint, Tricase 2018, available online: IBS, Amazon, LaFeltrinelli, Hoepli (ISBN: 978-88-27826-52-2). The book was presented in a series of 3 episodes on Vatican Radio. As in any self-respecting fairy tale, it is also possible to find very different meanings in the Magic Flute, encrypted messages opening for a flood of interpretations. Goethe declared that the work is full of “improbabilities that not everyone is able to appreciate in the right way”. The most objective interpretation refers to contemporary events. In Vienna, there was a climate of suspicion and police control. The monarchy feared that some insurrection could pop up overnight. There was no talk of anything else than Cagliostro, who had declared himself head of the Bavarian Illuminati. The Holy Office issued a guilty verdict in 1791 and within the Papal State it was forbidden for anyone to join the Egyptian sect and that of the Illuminati. In this context, shaken by other revolutionary events, The Magic Flute was born. Our book reconstructs that world, so that the reader can settle in and experience the emotions that spectators would have felt when listening to Mozart’s music at the end of the 18th century.

In Mozart. The Construction of a Genius, Youcanprint, Tricase 2018, available online at IBS, Amazon, LaFeltrinelli, Hoepli (ISBN: 978-88-27826-52-2), we deal with the construction of the myth of Mozart and of Mozart’s personal catalog, which is a forgery. The book, with a preface by M° Luigi Picardi of Vatican Radio, was adopted for the semiography course at the Bari Conservatory.

In 2021, the new volume Mozart in Italia was released. The book recounts three years of the composer’s life, from 13 December 1769 to 13 March 1773, when he took his first steps in Italy in writing serious operas under the careful supervision of his father Leopold. The historical reconstruction of their travels, through autographs, letters, articles, diaries and books of the time, is enriched with guides to music conducted directly on Mozart’s manuscripts. Many musical examples, published here for the first time, allow the reader to grasp the secrets of the trade and reveal the compositional processes of Wolfgang and Leopold Mozart. With reference to the most famous masters, writers and illustrious personalities who lived 250 years ago, we wanted to offer an insight into the musical life of our country.

There is also an online expansion at, reserved for readers, which is enriched with audio examples, videos, unpublished documents, facsimiles of musical manuscripts, and hundreds of pages of Mozart’s correspondence in the original language, with translations. It offers the precious opportunity to listen to Quirino Gasparini’s entire opera Mitridate re di Ponto exclusively and as a world premiere, an opera that served as a model for Mozart’s Mitridate re di Ponto.

HG: Do plan to release other books about Mozart in the future?

LB&AT: Of course, the third volume of Mozart. The Fall of the Gods. Our other project is to translate our books into English, German, Spanish, French and other languages. We are also evaluating proposals from publishers or people who can help us proofread English texts. If any of the Wild Ideas readers are interested, please contact us. Our websites are and https: //, while the address you can write to is