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Rampal Plays And Conducts Mozart

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This week’s Vinyl’s Revenge features a recording from my old Columbia House days – though I believe it was originally an Erato recording, re-purposed by CBS Masterworks. Its principal performers are the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jean-Pierre Rampal. Rampal acts as soloist on two of the three featured works, taking on the role of conductor for the third.

Mozart traveled to Paris and spent about six months there as a child from November 1763 to April 1864. A decade later, Mozart and his mother returned there in search of work and fame.

Mozart could not understand why the Parisians were not raving about him. How different the times had been when he, the child prodigy, had cavorted with Marie Antoinette. Now nobody was interested in him. He experienced one disappointment after another; whatever he tried, it was to no avail. Only by taking on some music students was he able to support himself and his mother. At this time, Anna Maria Mozart was fifty-seven years old and a simple housewife who had given up everything for her son. She fell seriously ill.

Wolfgang watched over her at her bedside. A doctor was called but to no avail. Mozart’s mother died on July 3, 1778. Mozart, at twenty-two years of age, was stranded alone in hated Paris…

Though Mozart wasn’t particularly prolific during that seven-month sojourn, we do have a great memento, his concerto for flute and harp composed that April. It was commissioned by Adrien-Louis de Bonnières, duc de Guînes, a flutist, for his use and for that of his eldest daughter, Marie-Louise-Philippine, a harpist, who was taking composition lessons from the composer, at the duke's home, the Hôtel de Castries. Mozart stated in a letter to his father that he thought the duke played the flute "extremely well" and that Marie's playing of the harp was "magnifique".

The second concerto on the record, the oboe concerto, was composed prior to the trip to Paris, but has the distinction of having been re-purposed to fulfill a commission of flute concerti by Dutch flautist Ferdinand De Jean; of which Mozart only completed one new flute concerto. Instead of creating a new second concerto, Mozart rearranged the oboe concerto he had written a year earlier as the second flute concerto, although with substantial changes for it to fit with what the composer deemed flute-like. However, De Jean did not pay Mozart for this concerto…

The final piece on the record is also re-purposed. The Rondo in C Major for Violin and Orchestra, K. 373, was composed in April 1781, likely for Italian violinist Antonio Brunetti, who is known to have also requested both the Adagio in E Major and Rondo in B-flat Major. This Rondo in C, however, was written years after the five numbered violin concertos. This recording is a transcription for flute and orchestra, supposedly produced by F. A. Hoffmeister in 1801, K. app. 184.

Happy Listening!

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Concerto in C for Flute and Harp, K.299
Oboe Concerto in C, K.314
Rondo in D for Flute and Orchestra, K.Ahn.184 (arr. of Rondo in C for Violin and Orchestra, K.373)

Flute – Jean-Pierre Rampal
Harp – Marielle Nordmann
Oboe – Pierre Pierlot

English Chamber Orchestra
Conductor – Jean-Pierre Rampal

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