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Arts Desk

Was Mozart a Fan of the Flute?

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Mozart c. 1780, detail from portrait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) didn't play the flute, and once suggested he didn't even like it. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he went on to write music that makes the instrument sing...and dance!

Mozart's over 600 compositions include two flute concertos, four flute quartets, and beautiful lines for the instrument in many of his other works.

Listen to a re-broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra performing Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 1 with soloist Jeffrey Khaner on Sunday, October 9th th at 1 pm on WRTI.

Radio script:

MUSIC:  Mozart's Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major, Jeffrey Khaner and The Philadelphia Orchestra 

Susan Lewis: Mozart was 22 and late with a commission when he gave his father the excuse that he didn’t really like the flute.

Jeffrey Khaner:  I think it was probably something he wrote in a pique.

SL: Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Flutist Jeffrey Khaner

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Flutist Jeffrey Kahner

JK: He wrote so beautifully for the flute.

SL: Khaner says, when interpreting Mozart, he does think about the composer’s perspective.

JK: I think Mozart thinks primarily as a pianist or a singer or as a string player. So I try to play the slow movements as thought they’re soprano arias, concert arias he might have written for voice. Whereas in the fast moments, I try to articulate the way I hear pianists articulate in piano concertos.

SL:  Khaner says the second movement of Mozart’s first flute concerto, brings to his mind a music box.

JK:  And inside is a beautiful dancer who moves so smoothly.

SL:  Mozart's over 600 compositions include two flute concertos, four flute quartets, and beautiful lines for the instrument in many of his other works.  

MozartKhanerandtheFLute050916SLLF.mp3
Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Flutist Jeffrey Khaner talks with WRTI's Susan Lewis about Mozart's flute music in general, and his first flute concerto in particular.