Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Sternfeld, Frederick W. "The Melodic Sources of Mozart's Most Popular Lied." The Musical Quarterly 42 (April 1956): 213-22.

Mozart heard Bach's motet Singet dem Herren ein neues Lied in 1789. The chorale "Nun lob mein Seel den Herren" is prominent in this motet. The history of this chorale melody is discussed. Bach himself used the melody in some ten works (listed on pp. 216-17). Mozart may have known several of these works besides the motet which he certainly heard and another he may have heard; four of the works were published during his lifetime. The melody of lines 6-7 of "Nun lob mein Seel den Herren" as set in Singet dem Herren largely corresponds to the beginning of Papageno's Lied "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen" in Die Zauberflöte. (The melody has also been discovered in Haydn's Mondo della Luna.) The strong impression made upon Mozart by Bach's music (evident in Mozart's increased interest in counterpoint in several works) is here made manifest in the form of a quotation.

Works: Bach: Cantata No. 17, Cantata No. 28,Cantata No. 29, Cantata No. 51, Cantata No. 167, Motets Singet dem Herrn and Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren, Chorales Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren (BWV 389) and Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren (BWV 390), Organ Prelude Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren (BWV, Anhang, No. 60); Mozart: Die Zauberflöte.

Index Classifications: 1700s

Contributed by: David C. Birchler

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