In response to:
B-flat Movie from the April 11, 1985 issue
To the Editors:
My review of the film Amadeus [NYR, April 11] mistakenly dates the most recent appearance of a Mozart manuscript as November 1984. I now learn from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 23, 1985, that the Marburg dealer Stargardt would soon auction the holograph of no. 3 of the Six Menuets written in Salzburg, Carnaval 1769. I might also say that the estimated price of this “damaged and water-spotted manuscript” of a very minor work by the thirteen-year-old composer is astonishing: ten times that of a handwritten page of counterpoint by Beethoven; higher still in relation to important Goethe and Wagner letters; and fifty times the value of correspondence by heads of state from Austria’s emperors to Lenin. An effect of the Amadeus craze?
Though five months late, I should also correct my gaffe [NYR, December 20, 1984] in having failed to distinguish between Dante the author of the Commedia and Dante the persona of the poem, and in having attributed to the persona the words that Dante Alighieri assigned to Pope Nicholas III. I thank the numerous Dante watchers who have brought this error to my attention—and sent me lectures on the Commedia, even though unrelated to my point about the use of prolepsis.
New York City
May 30, 1985