- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Fantasie und Sonate c-Moll, die Originalhandschrift an Mozarts Clavier interaktiv zum Klingen gebracht (Fantasy and Sonata in C Minor, Interactive Recording from the Autograph on Mozart’s own Fortepiano)
For information regarding the scope of this column, consult the headnote in the September 2006 issue (p. 155 of this volume). All Web sites accessed 23 August 2006.
In 2001, the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI) announced the start of a new edition of Mozart's complete works: the Digital Mozart Edition (DME). This new edition, prepared in cooperation with the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum (ISM) in Salzburg, will be published in digital format. Since the DME will be one of the first critical editions of music in digital format, it has caused a considerable amount of interest among musicologists and musicians. A digital edition of music poses quite a few challenges to the editors. One of the biggest challenges is to find a flexible yet efficient way of encoding the sources so that the computer can actually understand and work with the music. Another challenge, no less demanding, is the representation of the edition on the computer screen. There exists a variety of possibilities ranging from merely displaying a finished editorial text, to presenting a highly annotated edition that enables users to explore the various underlying sources interactively. Obviously this would require a set of sophisticated tools, including some that already exist, and others that have yet to be developed. The CD-ROM that is reviewed here offers some intriguing approaches to these issues. Although it does not contain an edition of music but rather an interactive facsimile and recording, it can be regarded as a prospect and test case for the digital presentation of Mozart's music as it is envisioned by the Digital Mozart Edition.
This award winning CD-ROM,1 somewhat modestly labeled an "interactive recording," has much to offer. First, it contains a recording of Mozart's Fantasy and Sonata in C Minor, K. 475 & 457, played from the autograph on Mozart's own fortepiano. Second, the CD-ROM features a high-resolution color facsimile of the autograph, which is, like the fortepiano, in the possession of the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Third, the disc includes accompanying texts that provide background information on the piece, the autograph, and Mozart's instrument. Some of these features are linked together interactively and enable the user to explore Mozart's work from various perspectives. The user may, for example, follow the autograph while listening to a performance of the music. At various points during the playback the user can decide whether to skip repeats, or omit or add ornaments. Not only can the recording be used interactively, but the facsimile also offers interactive menus and tools. These enable the user to explore the physical makeup of the autograph by leafing through the manuscript, magnifying specific spots, [End Page 395] and examining the original foliation. Finally, throughout the disc users can click on names, places, even elements in the facsimile for additional information.
The CD-ROM is started and operated solely from the disc itself, a nice feature, since one does not have to install any software. The drawback is, nonetheless, that the interactive playback may at times be interrupted since the drive needs extra time to find and read the data for alternate versions of the playback which are compiled on the fly. It is, however, possible to copy the content of the disc to one's hard drive in order to improve the performance. The program starts in a full screen view, which looks nice but is somewhat unwieldy if one would like to switch to other programs running on the computer...