Flute Concerto No.1

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Flute Concerto No.1 in G major

K285c, K313

About this work

In a letter of 10 December 1777 Mozart reported to his father from Mannheim that Johann Baptist Wendling, principal flautist of the famous Mannheim Orchestra, had been approached by a wealthy Dutch businessman by the name of De Jean, who was prepared to pay 200 gulden for three easy flute concertos and four flute quartets for his own use. Mozart accepted the commission with the understanding that the works were to be ready before De Jean left for Paris in mid-February 1778. By the day before the Dutchman left, Mozart had delivered only three of the quartets and two concertos, for which he had been paid only 964 gulden. The composer, who was himself being pressed by his father to continue his own journey to Paris with his mother, was full of excuses, writing back to Salzburg on 14 February, "It is not surprising I have been unable to finish them, for I never have a single hour's quiet here.... Moreover, you know I become quite powerless when I am obliged to write for an instrument I can't stand."

There is more than a hint of disingenuousness in Mozart's words, for this was the height of the period during which he was being distracted from his work by his new-found love for the Mannheim singer Aloysia Weber. (He ultimately married her sister, Constanze.) Of the two flute concertos Mozart handed over to De Jean, the second, in D major, was not even a new work, but an arrangement of an oboe concerto he had composed in Salzburg in the previous year. If Mozart's dislike of the flute was as great as he claimed, there are few signs in the Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major, particularly in the expressive central Adagio ma non troppo. The outer movements are an Allegro maestoso and a concluding Rondo: Tempo di Menuetto. The work is scored for two oboes (replaced by flutes in the Adagio), two horns, and strings.