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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: (1756-1791)

Flute Concerto in D Major, K. 314: Movt. I, Allegro

Aperto (1778)
Emmanuel Pahud
Berliner Philharmoniker
Uploaded May 24, 2009
Flute Concerto in D Major, K. 314 was written for the Dutch flutist,
Ferdinand DeJean, who had requested four quartets and three
concertos for flute. Mozart was running behind on the order (the
excuse for the incompletion, which he wrote to his father, was You
know how laggard I become when obliged to write for an instrument
which I cannot bear), and so he reworked his oboe concerto in C
Major (originally written for Giussepe Ferlindis) into a flute concerto.
During Mozarts time it was commonplace for composers to rework
their own music for another instrument. DeJean, however, found the
resemblance to be too similar, and refused to pay for a piece that was
not original.
This concerto follows the form of the sonata form with a double
exposition (where the exposition is first stated my the tutti, but does
not land in the dominant chord until the exposition is repeated by the
soloist). The double exposition is stated over the course of bars 1-107,
and remains in the key of D major. The first statement of the exposition
is stated from bar 1-32 before the flute comes in: The first theme from
measure 1-11, and the second theme from measure 12-26. The second
statement of the exposition begins in measure 32 when the flute
makes a flamboyant entrance. The first theme is repeated by the flute
from bars 32-77, remaining in the key of D major. The second theme,
how ever, is repeated from bars 78-96, venturing over to the key of A
major. Measures 96-107 stays in the key of A Major, tying a pretty little
bow on the exposition. fter the exposition, the development begins in
measure 106. It starts in A major, but quickly finds itself in an unstable
harmonic position until it transitions to a secure D major chord in the
down beat of measure 120. Between measures 120 and 173 lies the
recapitulation, which Mozart restates the first and second theme but
migrates to a minor key as he does so. From about 173 onward to the
end (including the cadenza), we have a sprightly coda to finish up the

In addition to this piece being in sonata form a form that became

popular in the classical period, there are many other stylistic
considerations that bring to mind the classical era. The phrasing of this
movement largely subscribes to the four bar structure that became
popular during the classical period, as can be seen in measures 39-42.
While the phrasing often vacates from this structure, the most secure
of the phrases follows this formula. As well, the texture suggests the
work of the classical period: After the first statement of the exposition
ends in the orchestra in bar 31, the part of the orchestra is much less
ornate and becomes a subordinate voice to the line of the solo flute,
closely following the formula for homophonic texture. An example of
this can be seen starting in measure 37, where the orchestra lays down
repeated eighth-note chords. While the accompaniment is subordinate,
it still plays a very important role in setting up the mood of the piece,
particularly in the development and recapitulation. For example, in
measure 109 the flute plays a simple motif that has a sense of
instability, but underneath the orchestra solidifies the sense of
harmonic instability with repeated seven chords.
Another aspect of this piece that fits snugly into the mold of classical
perioc music is simply the fact that it is easy to listen to: Mozart once
said about three of his piano concertos that they were a happy
medium between what is too easy and too difficult They are very
brilliant, pleasing to the ear, and natural, without being vapid. This
flute concerto is very similar, in that they are well-balanced between
consistency and contrast. The first theme and the second theme, while
not drastically different, bring different things to the table: The first
theme is bold and decisive, while the second theme is a bit more
flirtatious and sly. This type of very careful contrasting was common in
the classical era, and Mozart was masterful at this balancing act in
this way, this piece fits very well into the puzzle of the repertoire of the
classical era.
The ornamentation throughout the written music as well as the
recording is a very good example of the classical period: There are
many flourishes, trills, and appoggiaturas. One example of this can be
seen in the trill of the primary motif in measure 31 with a quick trill
followed by a speedy flourish. In the beginning of the second theme
(measure 12), there is an example of a longer appoggiatura. Yet
another example of classical ornamentation can be heard in measure
46 leading into measure 47 of the recording listed by Emmanuel
Pahud: Though it is not written in the score, throughout the classical
period performers would often trill on the second degree of the scale to
build tension, and then add a turn as they landed on the tonic (For
example: EFEFEFDED). In addition to the ornamentation used in the
performance, the listener should also take note of the spectacular

cadenza that Pahud offers: As expected from any good classical

cadenza, it feels improvised and spontaneous. It is creative and
surprising, but does not wander too far from the melodic content of the
One aspect of this piece that sets it apart from other classical music
though it is a perfect example of Mozarts writing is the sheer amount
of notes splattered on the page throughout the flute part. From the
opening line to the end of the cadenza, the flute part is inundated with
sixteenth notes, something that was not particularly common in the
classical era. Indeed, this is the very reason that Mozart was not
particularly popular in his own time. The Emperor Joseph II is said to
have complained, Too many notes after the performance of one of
his operas. (Bonds, 348) This flute concerto is an example of what
would have been considered too complicated at the time.
While this flute concerto caught a lot of flack for being a rip off and too
difficult during its earliest years and while the composer himself
despised the instrument it was written for, it has endured as a very
important contribution to the standard flute repertoire. Even those who
are not particularly fond of the piece find themselves with the catchy,
singable themes stuck in their heads for days after one listen.