Mozart’s Ghosts

Composed in


6 Instrumentalists

Clarinet, Horn, Viola, Violoncello, Harpsichord, Piano


First performance
May 28, 2006 at the Concertgebouw in Bruges (B) by members of the ensemble Champ d’Action conducted by the composer.

Commissioned by
Concertgebouw Brugge

Dedicated to
Frank Nuyts

Recording available
at VRT (Flemish Radio & Television)


Luc on Mozart’s Ghosts :

This work was composed at the instigation of Johan Huys and was a commission from the Concertgebouw in Bruges (B) where the first performance takes place on May 28, 2006. The ensemble Champ d’Action was conducted by the composer, as part of the project “composing with Wolfgang”.
The basic idea for the work was to do something with unfinished fragments composed by Mozart, which fragment had to appear in its original form in the course of the piece. I chose two fugue fragments for two reasons : the music is quite atypical for Mozart (a composer who’s not really among my favourites) and the instrumentation is not specified.
One fugue (in e minor) consists of 6 fragments (2 different beginnings) and is the one I chose to present in its original form, with additional voices at points where Mozart didn’t write them. I also tried to construct transitions to some of the other existing fragments in the smoothest possible way, that is according to the “rules” (at least I hope so). In these fragments I added some counterpoint. All of this starts at about half of the piece (at bar 94), which begins with some “own” counterpoint based on another Mozart fugue fragment which originally is in G major, but which I trasformed into f minor for reasons inherent of my own starting idea I had in mind already long before choosing the Mozart-fragments and actually writing down the first pages of the score. It is a nice puzzle for “analists” to figure out the Mozart fugue in the cascade of notes which I constructed “around” it. This “introduction” is interrupted several times to make place for slow (and slightly adapted) bits of the e minor fugue. At one point in the score (bars 81 to 87) I intuitively wrote some rhythmically less continuous and almost parallel chords which I liked so much that I decided to develop that idea right after the “original” and “recomposed” e minor fugue, turning it even into a “hoquetus” with acceleration towards the end, from bar 122 on until the coda at bar 148. Just before the “entrance” of the e minor fugue, I wrote a spectral passage, which is extended in the coda, as a kind of signature of my own. As a help for anyone interested to puzzle out the Mozart and/or Brewaeys notes, I intentionally composed all “my” music (based or not on the G major turned into f minor fugue) in 3/4 time signature, all the music based on the e minor fugue is written in 4/4.
Whatsoever, the main purpose of this work was not to compose a confrontation with Mozart’s original music, but to make an attempt to write as much as possible my own music starting from Mozart’s notes and with respect for his art. I hope my contribution is worthy to enrich the celebration of his 250th birthday in an original way.
I dedicate this score to my friend and fellow-composer Frank Nuyts, who loves Mozart’s music very much.

Luc Brewaeys