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Renée Krimsier

Flute Concertos

  • Type CD
  • Label Channel Classics
  • UPC 0723385102977
  • Catalog number CCS 10297
  • Release date 19 August 2002
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About the album

Most discussions of Mozart's flute music begin with his supposed dislike of the flute. For instance, his well-known statement in a letter to his father, "You know that I become quite powerless whenever I am obliged to write for an instrument which I cannot bear" seems inauspicious. There is a strong possibility, however, Mozart did indeed like the flute and made this statement for defensive reasons. He hadn't finished all the concerti and other works for flute promised to De Jean, the wealthy Dutch amateur who had commissioned the music from him, (and in fact, one of the concerti he had written was a practically literal transcription of a concerto for oboe he had written in Salzburg and which had been heard many times in Mannheim that month!). 

He had been paid less than half the amount he had been promised and perhaps he needed a reason (out of guilt?) for why he hadn't done all the work that he was obligated to. Finally, he professed this dislike in a letter to his ever watchful father as to why he hadn't yet fulfilled his commission. In response, Leopold admonished his 22 year-old son, saying in his letter of February 23rd 1778, "Just when I believe that things are on a better footing and taking their proper course I am suddenly confronted with some foolish unforeseen whim of yours, or else it appears that matters were not after all as you represented them to me!-----And so I have guessed right again?----You have got only 96 florins, instead of 200?----and why?----because you have completed only two concerti and only three quartets. How many were you to have composed for him, then, since he would only pay you half?----Why did you lie to me, writing that you had only to compose three small, light concertos and a couple of quartets?" We shall never know the full truth, but we do know Mozart quite admired the flute playing of Johann Baptiste Wendling, flutist in the famed Mannheim orchestra who arranged this commission for him. He wrote the Concerto in D, (a transcription of the concerto in C written for oboe the previous year) and the Concerto in G during those winter months in Mannheim . Failing to find a position in Mannheim, on March 14, 1778 Mozart went to Paris as his father had wished because Paris was then the cultural centre of Europe and a place where his son could most likely gain both fame and a lucrative post. 

Shortly after his arrival, he met the Compte de Guines, an amateur flutist, and his daughter, a brilliant harpist (she was believed to have memorised 200 concerti) , for both of whom he wrote the Flute and Harp Concerto. He seems never to have been paid for this concerto, for which he even wrote the cadenzas( which have since been lost).

At the time, cadenzas were traditionally improvised by the performers to showcase their own creativity and technique. Robert Levin, esteemed pianist and Mozart scholar, has written three delightful cadenzas for the Flute and Harp Concerto, and I have written the cadenzas for these recordings of the Concerti in D and G. Flutes of Mozart’s day were wooden, with open holes, and the lowest note was usually D below the staff. This may be one reason why Mozart transcribed the oboe concerto up one step from C major to D major. The Flute and Harp Concerto , however, does include a low D flat and C which was highly unusual at the time. Flutes were evolving, but the predominant instrument of the day was still the simpler version, so most flutes could not play these two low notes. Also, the harp at that time was a lighter, simpler, double-action instrument, which could play only two notes on each string versus the three that can be played today. The technical challenges to contemporary performers of these new Mozart concerti were therefore prodigious. The athleticism of the outer movements requires great agility even on today’s modern instruments. The connection between Mozart’s vocal writing and his instrumental concerti is so close that in fact Mozart uses thematic material from the third movement of the D major concerto as a basis for Blonde's aria 'Welche wonne' in the Abduction of the Seraglio. All Mozart’s music breathes. It is this natural quality we try to convey when performing his music. Renée Krimsier

  • 1
    Flute Concerto No. 1 in G Major, K. 313 I. Allegro Maestoso
  • 1
    Flute Concerto No. 1 in G Major, K. 313 II. Adagio Non Troppo
  • 1
    Flute Concerto No. 1 in G Major, K. 313 III. Tempo di Menuetto
  • 1
    Flute Concerto No. 2 in D Major, K. 314 I. Allegro Aperto
  • 1
    Flute Concerto No. 2 in D Major, K. 314 II. Andante Ma Non Troppo
  • 1
    Flute Concerto No. 2 in D Major, K. 314 III. Allegro
  • 1
    Concerto in C Major for Flute, Harp and Orchestra, K. 299 I. Allegro
  • 1
    Concerto in C Major for Flute, Harp and Orchestra, K. 299 II. Andantino
  • 1
    Concerto in C Major for Flute, Harp and Orchestra, K. 299 III. Rondo - Allegro

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