King Frederick II “the Great” of Prussia (1712-1786)
Program note written by Jacob Farmer
III. Allegro assai
Approximate Performance Time:
Intermediate Advanced – appropriate for advanced high school students and college undergraduates
Emmanuel Pahud, Trevor Pinnock & Kammerakadamie Potsdam. Flute Concerto No. 3. EMI Records Ltd, 2011. MP3.
Hutchinson, Jean Leslie. “The Flute Concertos of Frederick the Great.” Order No. 1385790 University of Louisville, 1997. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.
Frederick the Great (Frederick II), born 1712, was the king of Prussia from 1740 through 1786. While Frederick was a great conqueror and significantly increased the Prussian territory, he was more interested in music as a child. He went against his father’s (then King Frederick I) wishes and ran away with his friend Hans Hermann von Katte. When captured, Frederick’s father made him witness the beheading of Hans. Despite this, Frederick went on to compose four symphonies and hundreds of sonatas for the flute. He courted C.P.E. Back, Johan Sebastian Bach, Johann Joachim Quantz, Carl Heinrich Graun, and Franz Benda. Frederick died in 1786.
Frederick the Great’s Concerto No. 3 in C Major is in a three-movement format, similar to the baroque concerto style. Frederick II’s work blends Italian and French styles along with previous baroque concepts and a basic galant style creating a work that matches the aesthetic of the Classical era. The concerto contains a solo flute, four-part strings, and basso continuo. The work contains fourteen ritornellos, repeating passages in a piece of music. The first and last movement are in C major but the middle movement is in C minor. The opening movement contains elaborate scalar, arpeggios, and jumps; showing off the virtuosity of the flute. The Grave uses dotted rhythms, suggesting themes from the French overture style. The flute melody is expressive and fully ornamented. The last movement is created just to impress the audience with the virtuosic capabilities of the soloist.