Who is Abbé Stadler?
Most of Mozart’s music admirers and estimators totally ignore who Abbé Stadler was. However, at the same time, they owe him a lot.
Close friend of Wolfgang Mozart and of his wife Constanze, direct witness of compositional sessions by Mozart, he played a fundamental role in the preparation, organization and publication of the many manuscripts and musical scores left by Mozart at his death (see, for example, the story of the mysterious completed opera by Mozart Semiramis, Zaide?, August 1799).
He was also the custodian of various first hand anecdotes on Mozart and his style of working, anecdotes, which are still fundamental, today, to determine and correctly comprehend the genesis of a few masterpieces written by Mozart and, among them, the Requiem itself.
Thanks to a cousin of Abbé Stadler, Barbara Ployer (their family relation has been recently confirmed by the accurate genealogical studies carried on by M. Lorenz), today we have an original music theory exercise book by Mozart himself (1784, now also in NMA X/30/2). Again thanks to the intense philological activity of Stadler, we have today also the exercise book Freystädtler-Studien (NMA X/30/2), which Stadler called Mozart’s teaching in composition 1784, which is a marvellous example of how long and accurately Mozart studied the works by Handel and Bach. Stadler also completed lists of all known music fragments from Mozart, lists which then proved fundamental for both Nissen and Köchel.
Moreover, his work on Mozart’s manuscripts was so appreciated by Constanze Mozart, that he received the permission to complete a few pieces by Mozart, which had been left unfinished by the composer himself.
Among the various works by Mozart completed by Abbé Stadler, there are the piano solo Fantasia K. 396, Allegro K. 400 and Minuetto K. 355 and the Kyries K. 322 and K. 323.
Close friend also of Beethoven, during the first years of the 19th century he carried on an important philological work, to determine which parts of the Requiem by Mozart were actually by Mozart himself and which ones were by others (see also Stadler, Vertheidigung der Echtheit des Mozart’schen Requiem). According to certain sources, he worked on the Requiem also with the help of Constanze and marked, in common pencil, the parts by Mozart with an M and those by Süssmayr with an S. Stadler was also considered by a few scholars as the author of a former completion of a few parts of the Requiem, then discarded by Süssmayr in the final version. It is sure, instead, that: Stadler corrected the first original version in possession of Constanze Mozart («I said that my copy was more correct than the original…» […] «…mine is not only more correct than any other, on account of its containing the improvements of the Abbé’s masterly hand, but may be said to exceed in correctness the original itself.» Constanze Mozart, 26 November 1800); Stadler also added to the original version the figured bass accompaniment in red pencil and then in red ink, in order to preserve it; Stadler (and Constanze) affirmed that, in creating the completion, Süssmayr used also fragments of an already outlined version and other unfinished works by Mozart (but the latter is partially a conjecture by André, based upon his theory that actually 2 Requiems, one an older unfinished work written in 1789, existed and that Mozart, before his death, asked or thought to fill up the lacunae of the actual Requiem with sketches already written by him beforehand, ca. in 1789, for another unfinished Requiem and so did Süssmayr). Stadler in 1799 and 1800 actively helped Constanze to prepare the famous first printed edition of the Requiem and to solve the many Requiem difficult legal issues with the, until then, mysterious Count von Walsegg and his lawyer Sortschan of Vienna.
Stadler was also one of the composers selected for the monumental Diabelli Variations Project by 51 Composers (1819), for which he wrote Variation 41 on a Waltz by Diabelli.
We know also that Constanze Mozart wanted Stadler to complete the Rondo for piano & orch. «Concerto No. 26» (sic! in Constanze’s letter, due to the original numbering on the autograph manuscripts: which is in reality the frag. K. 386), because she knew Abbé Stadler could re-construct the original instructions by Mozart himself thanks to his family correspondence with the pianist Barbara Ployer. K. 386 then was completed by E. Smith and A. Brendel at the end of 1980s.
WORKS & ORIGINAL SOURCES ON ABBÉ STADLER
A) Mozart’s works completed by Abbé Stadler:
• Kyrie K. 322
• Kyrie K. 323
• Piano solo Minuetto K. 355/576b
• Piano solo Fantasia K. 396 (originally for piano & violin)
• Piano solo Allegro K. 400
• Piano & violin Rondo K. 372
• Piano Fugue K. 401
• Piano & violin Sonata K. 402
• Piano & violin Sonata K. 403
• Mov. Allegro for an Oboe concerto K. 416f
• Cantata Dir, Seele des Weltalls K. 429
• 3 movs. for Trio K. 442
• Piano Fugue K. 443
• No. 3 (a version revised by Stadler, Mozart original manuscript missing) of La Clemenza di Tito
• a first completion of some parts of Requiem, then discarded by Süssmayr (?)
• the Requiem figured bass accompaniment in red pencil and then in red ink
• arrangements of Mozart’s works
B) 19th century original sources on Stadler’s philological work on Mozart’s Requiem, on his friendship with Mozart and Constanze Mozart and on the theory of the 2 Requiems by André:
• The Harmonicon I (1828), p. 101 (.pdf = p. 114)
• The Musical World IX (1838), p. 462 (.pdf = p. 291)
C) Works by Stadler on Mozart’s Requiem and the History of Music:
• Vertheidigung der Echtheit des Mozartischen Requiem (1826)
• Nachtrag zur Vertheidigung (1827)
• Zweyter und letzter Nachtrag… sammt Nachbericht über die Ausgaben dieses Requiems durch André in Offenbach, nebst Ehrenrettung Mozart’s und vier fremden Briefen (1827)
• Materialen zur Geschichte der Musik unter den österreichischen Regenten (ms.)
D) Compositions by Stadler:
• Tabelle, aus welcher man Menuetten und Trios nerauswurfeln kann (1781)
• Oratorio: Befreyung von Jerusalem (1816)
• Komposition auf den Tod der Gemahlin weiland Kaiser Joseph
• Das Gewitter
• 2 cori & 5 scenes for Polyxena
• Sacred Music:
• 2 Missae solemnes
• 8 Masses
• 2 Requiem
• Te Deum
• 3 Magnificat
• 2 Miserere
• 4 Offertories
• 42 Psalms
• 10 Salve Regina
• Ave Regina
• Regina Coeli
• 3 Litanies
• 4 Corpus Domini Antiphonies
• 10 Responsories for the Holy Week
• other Sacred Music works
• For Orchestra:
• 12 Minuets
• 12 English Dances
• Chamber Music:
• Sonatas for piano & horn
• Fugues for piano & organ
• For Piano & Keyboard:
• Var. 41 on a Waltz by Diabelli
• Vocal Music:
• Arias & choruses for a Singspiel
• Arias for a Pastoral comedy
• Hymns & Cori:
• Glaube, Hoffnung und Liebe
• Es ist ein Gott
• Hoch du, mein Österreich
• Klage auf den Tod der Kaiserin Maria Theresia
• 42 Lieder
• Arrangements of works by Haydn, Gluck, Mozart, Cherubini, Dalayrac, Beethoven and others
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