Flute Quartet No.4

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Flute Quartet No.4 in A major

K298, KV298

About this work

As with its immediate predecessor, the Flute Quartet in G, K285a, the present A major Quartet dates from a considerably later period than its low Köchel number suggests. However, unlike the somewhat murky origins of the earlier work, the genesis of the A major quartet is fairly well established. It is a parody work introducing themes connected with several of Mozart's friends, and was almost certainly composed for them. Such a theory is supported by the composer's detailed and humorous heading for the last of the three movements. It reads: "Rondieaoux -- Allegretto grazioso, ma non troppo presto, pero non troppo adagio. Così-così -- non molto garbo ed espressione" ("A joke rondo -- Allegretto grazioso, but not too fast, nor too slow. So-so -- with great elegance and expression"). An autograph copy (not Mozart's) states the original manuscript was received from Baron von Jacquin. The Jacquin family members were close friends of Mozart's in Vienna, leaving little room for doubt that the quartet was designed for convivial domestic occasions at their home. The opening Andante is a set of variations on "An die Natur," a song by Franz-Anton Hoffmeister, a Viennese publisher and flautist with whom Mozart had close connections during the period when the quartet arose -- 1786 and 1787. The Menuetto middle movement introduces a French folk song, while the final movement is a parody of an arietta from Paisiello's opera buffa Le gare generose, which Mozart heard in Prague in January 1787. The arietta was particularly associated with Nancy Storace, the creator of the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and another of Mozart's friends.