At the end of January, I attended a “Mozart on Period Instruments” concert at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. It set me to thinking about the new audience that in recent years has been created for old Mozart and the new sense of the musical past—and perhaps of the past itself—that this new and younger audience seems to be seeking. The program, part of the Lincoln Center commitment to celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of Mozart’s death by playing every note he wrote, did not contain any of Mozart’s famous works. There were two sets of piano variations, K.179 and K.265, the latter using as the theme a tune we know as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”; the Fantasy for Piano, K.396; the Sonata for Violin and Piano, K.305; two solo piano concertos, K.37 and K.40; and the Concerto for Three Pianos, subtitled “Lodron,” K.242.

The main performers were the three renowned fortepianists Melvyn Tan, Steven...

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