Christmas Concert: Mozart Concerto for flute and harp
Flautist Izaskun Erdocia and I will be joining the Hong Kong Strings to perform Mozart's Concerto for flute, harp and orchestra, 1st movement, under the baton of Prof. Chan Wing Wah on:
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791)
Concerto for flute, harp and orchestra, K.299/297c (1778)
When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart went to Paris at the age of seven, he was received as a child prodigy with his unique talents on the klavier. Aristocracy and royalty adored him. Fourteen years later, however, at the age of 21, when Mozart returned to Paris again and started searching his fortune by himself, it was a very different story. He was unable to secure any promising appointments except meeting the influential noble and former ambassador to London, the Duc de Guines in Paris.
The Duc himself played the flute very well. His daughter, an accomplished harpist, was Mozart’s pupil in composition. The Duc, who was so infatuated with his daughter’s talent, commissioned Mozart to compose a concerto for flute and harp. According to Mozart, “she plays the harp magnifigue. She has a great deal of talent and genius, and in particular a marvelous memory, so that she can play all her pieces, actually about two hundred, by heart.” Nevertheless, she was not as competent in her composition class as she was in the harp. At the end, Mozart was not successful in teaching her how to devise four original measures of a minuet in twenty-four lessons. The Duke also proved to be slippery in his payment for the composition lessons and the new concerto. By the end of the summer, Mozart was sick of Paris. His beloved mother passed away while in France, leaving Mozart alone. In September, Mozart left Paris on the long journey back to Salzburg.
Since Mozart have had no first-hand knowledge of the harp, he wrote it as if it were a keyboard instrument to be played by five fingers, which posed formidable technical challenges to harpists. The concerto, according to Lucy Lewis, is actually a sinfonia concertante, a type of concerto for two or more solo instruments that was very popular back in the 18th Century and early 19th Century. The concerto consists of three movements: I. Allegro II. Andantino III. Rondeau-Allegro.