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Mozart's clavichord returns to Vienna

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Mozart's clavichord returns to Vienna
Photo: APA/HERBERT PFARRHOFER
16:19 CET+01:00
The clavichord on which Mozart composed some of his most famous works - including the Magic Flute - will be on display in Vienna for two weeks, for the first time since the 18th century.

The stringed keyboard instrument was part of the estate of Mozart's youngest son Franz Xaver, who in 1841 bequeathed it to the Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg, which has now loaned it to Vienna’s Mozarthaus in Domgasse 5, where he lived from 1784 to 1787.

"The clavichord is a fascinating instrument and it brings us incredibly close to the private Mozart, who composed with friends," said Matthias Schulz, managing director of the Mozarteum Foundation, at a press conference on Tuesday.

The clavichord is made of walnut wood and has a range of five octaves. Mozart would not have played it for public concerts but used it for practising on and composing at home.

"The clavichord is the perfect tool for a small apartment. The sound is very colourful… and it is the only musical instrument on which you can change the tone even after the key has been struck," Schulz said.

The clavichord came with a small handwritten note by Mozart’s wife Constanze, in which she testifies that her husband’s last works such as The Magic Flute, La clemenza di Tito, and Requiem were all composed on the instrument within the space of five months.

On November 2nd and 9th visitors to Mozarthaus will have the opportunity to hear the clavichord being played at 11am. 

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