Imagine this: like most other civilized people, you have more than a superficial interest in the great music of the past. For decades you have been aware of a rumor circulating among music professionals that a manuscript score for an early Mozart quartet—an autograph by the teenage prodigy—was found soon after the last war in one of the Lobkowitz castles near Prague, having inexplicably eluded the scrutiny of the diligent Ritter von Köchel. It had then languished through the long Communist night in a safe of the Ministry of Culture. Only tantalizing bits and pieces of third-hand transcriptions had filtered out—a pale reflection of the delights that the work in its entirety might reveal. Suddenly, today’s front page of the Times informs you that, after years of musicological research and endless legal squabbling, this 647th Mozart composition will receive its first full performance in over two centuries—by...


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