It is my great pleasure to perform with Chamber Orchestra First Editions and Music Director and conductor James Freeman. I have performed with him several times, as soloist with Orchestra 2001 and occasionally as ensemble member, so it is particularly exciting to play with his new orchestra in its second season. I love the programming concept: Mozart and new music, because as a flutist some of the greatest staples of my solo and chamber repertoire are by Mozart. It is Mozart’s music, along with that of Bach, to which I return every season and sometimes every day, always striving to approach its matchless genius.
Mozart wrote the Concerto in G Major, K. 313 in Mannheim in 1778, on commission from the Dutch flutist Ferdinand Dejean, for whom he also wrote the Concerto in D Major, K. 314, arranged from the C Major oboe concerto, and three flute quartets. During his stay in Paris later that year, Mozart wrote his Concerto for Flute and Harp. It is striking how much magnificent flute music Mozart wrote in one year! Despite the documentary evidence and profusion of scholarship on every aspect of Mozart’s life, his two concertos for flute and orchestra are still wrapped in some degree of mystery. Sadly, no copies exist in Mozart’s hand. He usually kept his manuscripts and had a copy made for the commissioner or performers. In this case, however, he might have given his manuscript to Dejean.
In lieu of the autograph of the Concerto in G Major, most editions that strive for authenticity are derived from the first printed edition of 1803. There is every reason to think that this printed edition does not represent Mozart’s actual articulations because it is so much more heavily marked than the autograph score of the Concerto for Flute and Harp, which fortunately does still exist. Studying Mozart’s flute writing in his own hand, which I did for my recent review of the Henle publication of Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp, leads me to adjust some of the articulation in the Concerto in G Major, following the types of slurs and staccato patterns according to my understanding of Mozart’s style.
The two Mozart concertos for flute and orchestra both hold a very special place in my heart. The G Major is the first piece I played for my beloved teacher Julius Baker, the legendary flutist, whose own recordings of the Mozart concertos are inspiring classics. The creative genius of Mozart is on full display in the G Major concerto. The Allegro Maestoso first movement brilliantly integrates stately, lyrical, and virtuosic elements. The Adagio ma non troppo is in the concerto’s dominant key of D Major, a particularly brilliant key for the flute. The flute’s long, cantabile lines bring to mind Mozart’s exquisite operatic writing; this movement is like an aria for flute. The Rondo: Tempo di menuetto combines elegance and vitality, with a contrasting middle section that is poignant in the darker key of E Minor, referencing again Mozart’s vocal writing. I’ve performed the Mozart concerti more than any other concerti in my career, and I never get over my feeling of awe at the sublime greatness of this music. – Mimi Stillman