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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart   KV1 299

Concerto for Flute & Harp

Concerto in C major. 1778. Time: 27'00.
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The Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C major, K. 299 is a piece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for flute, harp, and orchestra. It is one of only two true double concertos that he wrote, as well as the only piece of music that Mozart wrote that contains the harp.[1] The piece is one of the most popular such concerti in the repertoire, as well as often being found on recordings dedicated otherwise to either one of its featured instruments.



The concerto was written in April 1778 by Mozart during his sojourn to Paris for the Court of Guînes. It was commissioned (although never paid for) from Mozart, by the flautist Duke of Guînes, Adrien-Louis de Bonnières, and his harpist daughter who was taking composition lessons from the composer.[2][3]

In the classical period, the harp was still in development, and was not considered a standard orchestral instrument. It was regarded more as a plucked piano.[4]. Therefore, harp and flute was considered an extremely unusual combination. Currently, there is much more repertoire for a flute and harp duo, especially without orchestra. Much of this repertoire was written by composers in the nineteenth century.

Mozart composed the concerto with the audience in mind. The piece is essentially in the form of a Sinfonia Concertante, which was extremely popular in Paris at the time.[1] Today, the concerto is often played in chamber ensembles, because it is technically challenging for both instrumentalists. It is also often played in orchestras to display the talents of harpists.

The harp part appears to be more like an adaptation of a piano piece than an original harp part; this is especially evident in the patterns of five and ten notes throughout all three movements which would not fall under the fingers as easily for a harpist, as the fifth fingers are typically not used[citation needed]. There are no full, rich glissandi, and although there is counterpoint in the harp part, it does not typically include lush chords. Mozart did not include any cadenzas of his own, as is normal for his compositions.[5] A few popular cadenzas are often performed, such as the one by Carl Reinecke, but many harpists also choose to write their own cadenzas.

Form and movements

The soloists in the piece will sometimes play with the orchestra, and at other times perform as a duo while the orchestra is resting. The flute and harp alternate having the melody and accompanying lines. In some passages, they also create counterpoint with just each other. Mozart concertos are standard in how they move harmonically, as well as that they adhere to the three-movement form of fast–slow–fast:

I. Allegro

The orchestra states both themes. The first is immediately present, and the second is introduced by the horn. Both themes fall under the conventional sonata form. The soli then re-work the already present themes.[5]

II. Andantino

The short phrases in this movement are introduced by the strings, and become lyrically extended. This further develops into variations on the theme. The cadenza in this movement leads to a coda, where the orchestra and soli focus on the lyrical theme.[5]

III. Rondeau – Allegro

The harmonic form is: A–B–C–D–C–B–{cadenza}–A(coda). Some music theorists feel that this is actually more of an arch than a typical rondo form, because music from the A section is still audible in the C and D sections.[5]

Editions and recordings

In addition to the numerous cadenzas performers have to choose from, multiple editions of this piece also exist. One such example is by the famous harpist, arranger, and composer Carlos Salzedo. He edits fingerings in the first movement, re-writes trills to make the music easier on the performer in the second movement, and divides most of the right hand part between two hands in the third movement.[4]

Many recordings of this piece are available. James Galway is a famous flautist who has performed and recorded this piece multiple times. He has worked with harpists such as: Fritz Helmis, Marisa Robles, and Ann Hobson Pilot.


  1. ^ a b Briscoe, Doug. Program notes. Boston Classical Orchestra.
  2. ^ Symphony No. 31 in D major, K. 297 (Paris). John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
  3. ^ Horsley, Paul. Program notes. Philadelphia Orchestra.
  4. ^ a b Salzedo, Carlos. "Editing Mozart's Flute and Harp Concerto". American Harp Society. Vol. 18, No. 4, Winter 2002, p. 33.
  5. ^ a b c d Paul Serotsky: "Mozart-Concerto for Flute and Harp", MusicWeb International, ed. Rob Barnett

External links

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Concerto_for_Flute,_Harp,_and_Orchestra_(Mozart)". Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.

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