Page last updated at 17:30 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

French debut for missing Mozart

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Listen to the 'lost' Mozart score being performed by Daniel Cuiller

A piece of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which had lain undiscovered in a French library for years, has had its first public performance.

The two minute-long piece was played by violinist Daniel Cuiller before a small audience in Nantes, western France.

The sheet music was found by staff at the city's library, and authenticated as an original work of the Austrian composer last September.

The score is on display at Nantes Castle until 22 February.

Dr Ulrich Leisinger from the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, who authenticated the score, said it was an important discovery.

It is composed of two musical pieces with a missing portion at the top.

Whole piece

Dr Leisinger said: "We immediately saw that this was Mozart's writing. However, it took more time to realise that this something completely new. It was a great surprise and great joy.

"The first four lines constitute a whole piece, and that's what is interesting.

The second portion seems unfinished and rushed according to specialists.

"There are three lines of music missing," Dr Leisinger said. "You can see traces of it, but we don't know where the missing part is today."

Mozart left more than 600 known pieces of music before his death in 1791 at the age of 35.

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