The extremely appealing combination of flute and harp has stimulated numerous composers – including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In actual fact, however, he was anything but a supporter of the flute, as we learn from a letter he wrote to his father in February 1778 from Mannheim: “And, as you know, I am quite inhibited when I have to compose for an instrument which I cannot endure.”
The two flute concertos on which Mozart was working then showed the instrument, however, in all its glory, and give reason to assume that Mozart quickly reconciled with the unloved instrument as soon as it was played by an excellent musician secure in his or her intonation. This was also the case when he got to know a French aristocrat in Paris one month later who – thus Mozart reported to his father this time – “plays the flute incomparably”. As the count’s daughter, moreover, played “the harp magnificently”, the plan for a work for the two instruments ripened in Mozart. His concerto for flute, harp and orchestra, alive with French esprit, is at the centre of this Karajan Academy concert conducted by Ton Koopman; the soloists are the Philharmonic principal flutist Mathieu Dufour and the French harpist Marion Ravot.
The varied programme begins with Johann Sebastian Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 with the famous “Badinerie” as its final movement; in this work, too, the flute plays an almost soloistic role. After the break, Bach’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel and Joseph Haydn will have their say, each with a symphony. While one of them was an essential trailblazer for the classical era with an unusually experimental language of sound for the time, Haydn is considered one of the fixed stars of this epoch of music history, not least with his 12 “London symphonies”. One of them, No. 98 in his symphonic oeuvre, will be played to round off this multi-faceted concert.