Mozart's Twelfth Mass
Date: October 31, 2003
There have been a couple of inquiries recently concerning a piece still
published as Mozart's Twelfth Mass. I'm taking the liberty of writing to the
whole list, because this is something that comes up from time to time.
In the August, 1991, issue of Choral Journal, I wrote an article
called "Publications of Misattributed Mozart Choral Works: Let the Buyer
Beware." It says, in part:
"First published by Simrock, and later by Novello, [the Twelfth Mass] came from
a manuscript owned by one Carl Zulehner, a music lover who lived in Mainz.
When in 1826 the authenticity of the work was called into question on stylistic
grounds, Zulehner was challenged to come forward with the autograph, but failed
to do so. It has long been believed that the Mass is in fact the work of
Zulehner himself. Yet publishers continue to offer both the complete Mass and
sections of it (e.g. the Gloria from the Twelfth Mass) as Mozart's composition."
Unfortunately publishers, knowing they will sell more copies of a piece that
has Mozart's name on it than one attributed to Zulehner, continue to publish
this as an authentic work of Mozart. Is fraud too strong a word? I don't
think so; it certainly would be considered fraud in any other business. Also
unfortunately, not everyone is well-informed about this possibility. If you
like the piece, by all means do it. You could even note on the program that it
was once attributed to Mozart. But it is not an authentic work of his. Most
likely Zulehner forged the work himself.
If you would like to see the entire article, I will be glad to send it to you
via snail-mail. Just give me your address.
Director of Choral Activities
Arizona State University