Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Program note written by Jacob Farmer
III. Rondeau – Allegro
Approximate Performance Time:
Advanced – appropriate for upper college undergraduates or master students
James Galway, Marisa Robles, Sir Neville Marriner & Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra in C Major, K. 299. Sony Music, 1997. MP3.
Dunnell, Rebecca Cotten. “Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp, K.299: A Reflection of the Socio-Musical World of 1770s Paris.” Order No. 9729996 The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1997. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 in Salzburg. That same year, his father, Leopold, published a book of compositions for violin. The Archbishop of Salzburg afforded him the opportunity to travel to Paris, London, Italy, any many other smaller, learning and composing on the way. The Archbishop’s dissatisfaction with his work led to his dismissal and relocation to Vienna for the last ten years of his life. Mozart died at the young age of 35 in 1791. Mozart composed his first Symphony in 1764 while in London, with forty more to follow. Many of his works like Requiem Mass in D Minor (composed on his deathbed), Symphony No. 40 in G minor, and Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major are household tunes exemplifying his notoriety and fame more than 200 years after his death.
Concerto for Flute and Harp K. 299 was written by Mozart in April of 1778. The piece was commissioned by Adrien-Louis Bonnières de Souastre, the Duke of Guines. The Duke was a flutist and his daughter, a harpist. Mozart’s work is an example of French salon music, written to please the Parisian court. The composition has three movements, all containing cadenzas; an unusual amount for Mozart’s compositions. We do not have cadenzas written by Mozart for this concerto, most likely because they have been lost over time. The flute and harp are seen as equals in this work and show the virtuosic abilities of the performers and modern instruments in the late 18th century. The work overall is lighthearted and flamboyant in typical French fashion but still a favorite for flute and harp duos and connoisseurs of French music.