Download Full Text (4.7 MB)
Caitlyn Faddis, MUS303: Music History 2
Faculty Mentor(s): Professor Carolyn Guzski, Music
In 1996, musicologists found the missing work Der Stein der Weisen [The Philosopher's Stone], composed in 1790 but lost since 1814. The work was a complete Singspiel, a German operatic form that more closely resembles musical theater. Der Stein der Weisen was jointly composed by Johann Baptist Henneberg, Benedikt Schack, Franz Xaver Gerl, Emanuel Schikaneder, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Its libretto was also written by Emanuel Schikaneder, who would go on to create the iconic Die Zauberflöte [The Magic Flute] with Mozart, and musicologists now believe that The Magic Flute may have been modeled on the lost Singspiel. Der Stein der Weisen is based on a fairy tale published in 1780 by Christoph Martin Wieland called Dschinnistan [Exquisite Fairy and Ghost Tales]. In the famous “Nun, liebes Weibchen” [Now, Lovely Maiden], known as “The Cat Duet," Mozart used his vast knowledge of Classical technique to compose this amusing work. In accordance with Mozart's position among the First Vienna School (along with Haydn and Beethoven), its predominant stylistic texture was homophonic, with inventive melodies clearly projected over a chordal accompaniment. The duet begins with a vividly optimistic opening heard in the strings and woodwinds, as the character Lubano (baritone) attempts to communicate his wife, Lubanara (soprano), who can only respond with a comic “meow." They met with the bad side of a sorcerer! I performed this duet as the soprano Lubanara with the Buffalo State Philharmonia, and found that the rediscovery of this Singspiel gives us a wonderful opportunity to experience how 18th-century audiences responded to Mozart's original creation. Using manuscript findings that had been lost for over 150 years, my project seeks to analyze Mozart from this fresh perspective.
Faddis, Caitlyn, "Mozart's Lost Composition?" (2021). Arts. 13.