Recently, David Perry, a Canadian violinist, criticised what he considered to be a wrong appoggiatura note in my Urtext edition of the Mozart A-major Violin Concerto K. 219, concerning measure 69 in the first movement. In Mozart’s autograph there seems to be no doubt about the appoggiatura note a2 to the main note d3:
Mr Perry was bothered not only by the appoggiatura note at the interval of a fourth, which is unusual for Mozart, not to say impossible, but he also referred to the – usual – grace-note writing in the prior measure and to the parallel passages in mm. 170/171.
The appoggiatura note at the fourth is indeed strange, but that’s the way it is, and it fits perfectly into the harmony (a2 is to be heard here on all modern recordings of K. 219). And that’s why it is also reproduced in our Urtext edition exactly so (as, incidentally, it is also to be found in the Bärenreiter edition), with my additional “cautionary” footnote: “The contrasting appoggiaturas in mm. 68/69 and 170/171 are reproduced exactly as they appear in the autograph.”
I was about to compose a friendly and regretting email when, on close inspection of the autograph passage, I suddenly noticed that the appoggiatura note in question is notated “too high”, that is, on the SAME leger line as the main note’s upper leger line. If Mozart really wanted to write and hear the appoggiatura fourth a2, then he would have written the leger line and with it the entire grace note lower. And then it was clear to me that Mozart simply forgot to write the lower leger line. It is APPARENTLY a2 but meant to be the expected c#3. I’m quite sure about that: missing there is simply the bottom leger line.
Dear violinists: You are welcome to take the (rewarding) time to leaf through the whole Mozart autograph. This movement is teeming with grace notes. As usual, they are all at the interval of a second from above or below. And Mozart always writes the notes, including the leger line(s), exactly at the level of the respective main note. In m. 69, too, but missing only here, unfortunately, is the bottom leger line.
So, from now on, you should correct the erroneous a2 in m. 69 to the correct c#3. And in our next Urtext edition of this work, I shall correct this annoying little error. Thank you, David Perry!