By composer John Hilliard
Resident Composer at James Madison University
Notes | How to Get It | An Excerpt | About the Composer | Links
In 1782 Mozart left unfinished a musical fragment for violoncello and cembalo entitled “Andantino in B fur Klavier und Violoncello”. Its catalog number is: KV Anh. 46 (374g). (In the Germanic system of key names, “in B” means Bb.) Recently, the “Mozart in Augsburg” festival, in Germany, through the generous support of Carsten Schmidt and James Wilson commissioned me to complete this Mozart fragment, realizing it as a completed composition. I was given permission to utilize themes from other Mozart works in order to render it as near as possible to his style. I have used one theme from Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 12 in A Major, K. 414, from the Andante movement, which I surmised was in a tempo similar to the fragment. The meter of both is the same, of course, too.
Little is known about the circumstances surrounding the existence of this fragment: most significantly, why Mozart initiated the composition and why it was not finished. There exists one other completion of the fragment from a few years after Mozart’s death. To the best of my knowledge my attempt is the second, and the only published one.
The fragment is 33 measures long. These measures too are in themselves incomplete in parts; sometimes he provided only the cello part or only the right hand of the piano part. Thus, I had to ascertain the implied harmonic basis of many of these measures, including possible modulations. I was also perplexed as to what musical structure Mozart had intended to cast the fragment. After thinking through several, including Theme and Variations, Sonata, Rondo and Fantasia-like possibilities, I concluded that whatever his original intention in structure, we would probably never know for certain. My best guess became the Sonata-Rondo, one of his favorite forms. It seemed the second theme on the dominant was not preceded by a conventional transition, which is often the case in the Sonata-Rondo form. Therefore it gave me reason to think that this structure might work for his fragment. This choice also afforded the use of his own fragment themes four times (always a good idea if you are trying to assume the style of a genius long dead!)
My first task was to finish (to the best of my ability) the actual fragment. I then searched for a third theme in a related key, perhaps minor, to complete the center C section of the typical Sonata-Rondo: A B A | C | A B A. I found the aforementioned theme and transcribed/arranged it from orchestra and piano to this context. What remained was to compose the transitions and related passages which matched the form. And, of course, to compose an appropriate Coda to end the work.
I have never been an ardent admirer of Mozart’s music, despite the popularity of his music to the world. Of course, I admire each and every composer as a sister or brother laborer in the field of music creativity, but only a few does one truly love in one’s lifetime. And for me, Mozart was just always cherished and admired only. However after working intimately, like never before, on his music and especially “within” his calligraphic domain, I was enticed and courted into a beginning love for his music. He was a rare and brilliant musical soul and I am honored to have, perhaps crudely, tried to walk in his ornate and perfect musical shoes. I am thankful to James and Carsten for making this possible.
How to get it:
Dr. John Hilliard
Professor of Music, Resident Composer,
Co-Chair of the Contemporary Music Festival
Senior Fulbright Scholar 1998-1999
School of Music-James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807 USA
Click here to read Hilliard's interview in JMU's newspaper
NPR Interview with John Hilliard
An excerpt from the work:
About the Composer:
John Hilliard (born 1947, Hot Springs Arkansas) is Professor of Music, Resident Composer, and Co-Chair of the Contemporary Music Festival at the School of Music, James Madison University. His works have had international performances in Austria, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, South America, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States including performances at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Merkin Hall NYC and at over 20 new music festivals. He has had orchestral works performed by the St. Louis Symphony, Danville Illinois Symphony, James Madison University Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Conservatory Orchestra, Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra, Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra and the Richmond Symphony. His piano concerto Okeanos was premiered by the JMU School of Music Wind Symphony, Dr. Eric Ruple soloist, in 2000 in honor of the 20th-year celebration of the Contemporary Music Festival. It was subsequently performed at the College Band Directors National Conference. Other honors include an annual ASCAP Award, a commission from the International Horn Society and the first-place award in the Virginia Music Teachers Association’s commissioned composer contest. In January 1993, he was one of two composers requested to compose music for newly elected President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. In 1995 Hilliard was given a six-month residency grant to be an Artistic Fellow for the Japan Foundation in Tokyo and Nara, where he studied Gagaku, Shakuhachi, traditional Japanese music performance, and composed his Symphony No. 4. He has received commissions and grants from various organizations and institutions, including the Lanier Trio of Georgia State University, the Northwest Trumpet Guild, the Young Keyboard Artists Association, James Madison University, Cornell University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Mid-America Arts Council, the Fulbright Program, the American Symphony Orchestra League, the Meet-the-Composer Program, the Virginia Commission for the Arts in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts. For over 12 summers, Hilliard taught on the composition and theory faculty of the National Music Camp (now Interlochen Arts Camp) at Interlochen, Michigan. Consequently, his works have been featured on the National Public Radio Series "Music from Interlochen", and on one of their CD samplers. He has previously taught at Cornell University and Washington State University. His teachers include Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Karel Husa, Donald Erb, W. Francis McBeth, Robert Palmer, George B. Wilson and Ned Rorem. In addition, he has attended masterclasses with Erza Laderman, Alan Hovhaness, Wlodzimierz Kotonski, George Crumb, Milton Babbitt, Ben Johnston, William Grant Still and Olivier Messiaen. In 1998-99 Hilliard was selected to be composer-in-residence in Hong Kong, as a Senior Fulbright Scholar-Artist in music composition, where he composed his first piano concerto (1998). Hilliard has composed for a variety of media, including a piano sonata; two piano partitas; a violin sonata; a clarinet, violin, cello and piano quartet; a saxophone quartet; two piano concertos; a trumpet concerto; a chamber concerto, a double concerto for alto saxophone and horn; a mass, various songs, a theater/ballet work, and four symphonies. He received his doctorate in composition and conducting from Cornell University in 1983.
Hilliard has also been active as a conductor. While in graduate school he was the conductor of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Collegium Musicum, performing vocal works of the Renaissance. In 1976, he founded Interlochen’s 20th-Century Chamber Players, a group dedicated to the performance of new music. At Interlochen he conducted not only symphonies of Mozart, but several performances of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat. Later, while in graduate school at Cornell, Hilliard became the Assistant Conductor of the Cornell Symphony under Maestro Edward Murray, a student of Pierre Boulez. There he conducted works of Beethoven, Berg, Stravinsky, Pergolesi, Vaughan Williams and various premieres of Cornell composer’s works. Since that time, Hilliard has conducted opera (Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro), and numerous chamber masterpieces of the last century including Walton’s Facade, Stravinsky’s Octet, and Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire., in addition to premieres of his own works.
2002 brought Hilliard world-wide performances of his new work for solo piano “Four Partita Movements”. Sarah Lawrence College’s internationally recognized pianist, Carsten Schmidt, premiered the work in Yamaguchi Japan in January, then did the U.S. premiere at the JMU Contemporary Music Festival in February. These were followed by performances of the work at Sarah Lawrence and at the Gaudeamus Contemporary Music Festival in Amsterdam in March. In May of 2002, Schmidt performed it once again on tour in Germany and recorded it for Bavarian Radio Broadcast. In April of 2004 in Merkin Hall in New York City, Schmidt performed the New York premiere of these same pieces. The Staunton Music Festival premiered Hilliard’s unique work “Music for 50 Players” for one piano 10 hands during it’s sixth festival in August of 2003. This piece features five pianists sitting at one piano keyboard.
Hilliard’s recent (2003-5) projects and commissions include a woodwind quintet for Montpelier Winds, a second piano concerto commissioned by the Staunton Music Festival (premiered in August 2004), and a completion of a Mozart fragment, commissioned by the Augsburg, Germany Mozartfest. For this last work, he was asked to finish, in Mozart’s mature style, a manuscript fragment for cello and keyboard left by him at his death. Along with this Hilliard was to compose a work in his own style based upon the fragment themes ("Mozart Mosaics"). Both were premiered in Germany in May 2004 at the festival. In July of 2004, he appeared as a guest on the National Public Radio show "With Good Reason", speaking about the completion of these Mozart-related works. Finally, Hilliard has been commissioned by the James Madison University Wind Symphony to write a work for wind ensemble in celebration of the JMU Centennial and the opening of the new performing arts complex for JMU in 2008. He was granted a leave of absence by the university for the Spring of 2005 to compose. Other upcoming plans include a concert of his works at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theatre in Washington D.C in the fall of 2006. His newly completed Piano Concerto No. 2 will be premiered in Washington on this concert, in addition his Mozart completion. Hilliard’s works are published by Gitchi-Mukwa Music.