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MOZART: Flute Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Concerto for Flute and Harp


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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Flute Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 Concerto for Flute and Harp


The two flute concertos and the concerto Mozart wrote forflute and harp were the direct result of his attempt to escape from therestrictions of his native Salzburg, with its limited musical opportunities. Asa child prodigy he had amazed Europe, and an indulgent patron, the thenArchbishop of Salzburg, had allowed Leopold Mozart, Vice-Kapellmeister atSalzburg, freedom to travel with his two children in concert tours that tookthe family away for years at a time. The succession of a new archbishop in 1772brought an end to this freedom, while Mozart and his father constantly stroveto find some position for the young composer that would bring much greaterdistinction. It was this ambition, fostered by Leopold Mozart, that led his sonin 1777 to resign his position in Salzburg and seek his fortune elsewhere. Thearchbishop, indeed, was willing to see both Mozarts leave his service, but thisLeopold Mozart could not afford. He remained at his post in Salzburg, while hisson set out, accompanied by his mother, on a journey that was to take him toMunich, Augsburg, Mannheim and finally Paris.


Travelling in their own chaise, Mozart and his mother setout on 23rd September, 1777. They spent seventeen days in Munich, where theElector had nothing to offer, followed by a fortnight in Leopold Mozart'snative city of Augsburg. On 30th October they reached Mannheim, the then seatof the Elector Carl Theodor, who kept an orchestra that had won internationalfame. Mannheim had other attractions for Mozart. lt was here that he met forthe first time the Weber family and embarked on a flirtation with thesixteen-year-old Aloysia Weber, a young singer with whom, to his father'salarm, he planned a concert tour of Italy. The connection with the Webers wasto continue, as Frau Weber, after the death of her husband, uncle of thecomposer Carl Maria von Weber and copyist at Mannheim, moved with her daughtersto Vienna, in search of suitable husbands for them. Mozart was to be jilted byAloysia, for whom Frau Weber found a materially more advantageous match, but hewas eventually to marry Constanze, a dowerless younger daughter, to theexpressed surprise of the Emperor and the dismay of his father. In 1777,however, this still lay ahead. Mannheim had manifold musical attractions, butno position for Mozart. Nevertheless he lingered there through the winter, andthrough his friendship with the flautist Wendling made the acquaintance of aDutchman, whose name appears variously as De Jean and \M. de champs" inMozart's letters to his anxious father. De Jean had been an army doctor inM??nster and in 1758, at the age of 27, had travelled to Batavia where he wasemployed as a surgeon by the East India Company. It is for this reason thatMozart refers to him in his letters as "our Indian". De Jean had wide interestsand a wide circle of friends, including the doctor who was to attend Mozart onhis death-bed in 1791. More to our purpose, he was an amateur flautist and aman of means, and commissioned from Mozart three little, easy, short fluteconcertos and a couple of flute quartets, for which he promised the sum of 200florins.


The promised fee was to be a recurrent topic in lettersexchanged between Mozart and his father during the following weeks, Mozart hadno particular love of the flute and showed a certain indolence in fulfillinghis obligation to De Jean, a man canny enough not to pay in advance for themusic he had ordered. By February, however, Mozart had written the two fluteconcertos we now have and three quartets, for which De Jean had given half themoney. In a letter written during his return journey from Paris on 3rd Octoberof the following year we hear again that De Jean will pay later, a financialarrangement that must have confirmed Leopold Mozart's worst doubts of his son'sbusiness acumen.


Whatever reservations Mozart may have expressed about theflute itself, his compositions for the instrument are works ofcharacteristically rich melodic invention and equally characteristic clarity ofform and texture, allowing those for whom they were written a share in theimmortality of their composer. The two flute concertos are  scored for the usual orchestra withpairs of oboes and horns, strings and a possible doubling of the bass line by abassoon. The second of the pair, the Concerto in D major, K314, seems to havebeen a transcription for flute of an oboe concerto in C major written for theSalzburg oboist Ferlendis in the spring or summer of 1777, before Mozart setout on his optimistic journey. The work was performed in Mannheim by the oboistFriedrich Ramm, whose playing Mozart admired. In a letter home to his father hedescribes the concerto as Ramm's cheval de bataille and tells how he had playedit for the fifth time in the house of the Mannheim Kapellmeister Cannabich. Itwas presumably through the imminent departure of De Jean for Paris that Mozartdecided to fulfil his commission with an arrangement of an existing work,which, it may be supposed, De Jean had already heard in its original version.


Mozart and his mother set out for Paris on 14th March, 1778,and reached the French capital nine days later. As a child Mozart had caused asensation in Paris, as a young man, and a "stupid German" at that, he was farless interesting. Towards the end of June his mother fell ill, and on 3rd Julyshe died. Her earlier letters to her husband in Salzburg had seemed naivelyhopeful. Wolfgang had been commissioned by a duke to write two concertos, onefor flute and one for harp, she wrote, soon after their arrival, and her sonwas also employed to teach composition to the duke's daughter. The concertowritten for the Duc de Guines, an amateur flautist, and his harpist daughter,was the delightful Concerto in C major for flute and harp, K. 299, scored forthe usual instrumental forces. Mozart, who had been enthusiastic about theperforming abilities of the duke and his daughter on first acquaintance, had,by July, become less satisfied. The duke had had the concerto for four months,he wrote to his father, and had still not paid, and furthermore was countingtwo hours of attendance as one. The result was further practical advice fromLeopold Mozart on the art of collecting money from slow patrons without causingoffence, an art that Mozart was slow to learn.


Keith Anderson


* For the present recording a reverse baroque position isused (i.e. the second violins are placed on the left, opposite the firstviolins on the right of the ensemble.)

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Facts
Item number 8557011
Barcode 747313201129
Release date 09/01/2003
Category Classical
Label Naxos Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Performers
Artists Pierre, Fabrice
Gallois, Patrick
Shaw, Roderick
Pierre, Fabrice
Gallois, Patrick
Shaw, Roderick
Composers Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Conductors Andreasson, Katarina
Andreasson, Katarina
Orchestras Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Producers Turner, Ben
Turner, Ben
Disc: 1
Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major, K. 313
1 I. Allegro aperto
2 II. Adagio ma non troppo
3 III. Rondo: Allegro
4 I. Allegro
5 II. Andantino
6 III. Rondo: Allegro
7 I. Allegro maestoso
8 II. Adagio ma non troppo
9 III. Rondo: Tempo di Menuetto
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