Concerto No. 161, QV 5: 174
Composed by Johann Joachim Quantz
For Solo Flute and Flute Quartet
Arranged by Robert Rainford
Published by Forton Music
Johann Joachim Quantz was born in 1697, in Oberscheden in Hanover. Despite some initial family objections, he began his musical studies with his uncle. From 1714 onwards he studied composition extensively, reading as many scores of famous works as he could. In March 1716 he joined the town band in Dresden, also studying counterpoint with Jan Zelenka. In March 1718 he was appointed oboist in the newly formed Dresden chapel. When it became clear that advancement there would be impossible, he decided to switch to the flute. From 1724-1727 he made a Grand Tour of Europe as a flautist, meeting Scarlatti, Blavet and Handel. The Queen of Prussia was so impressed with his playing she wanted to hire him; his employer August II refused the request, but allowed Quantz to travel to Berlin as often as requested. In 1741 Quantz finally accepted a position as flute teacher, flute maker and composer at the court in Berlin, where he remained for the rest of his life. He had a strong interest in flute design, contributing to the developng key work of the instrument. He wrote around 300 flute concerti and over 200 sonata, but is also well known as the author of On Playing The Flute – a treatise on traverso flute playing. It's a valuable resource of reference regarding performance practice and flute technique in the 18th century. He died in 1773 in Potsdam.
This concerto follows the standard movement pattern of the time – a lively first and last movement with a central slow movement. The first and last movements are in broad ritornello form. Entries of the original theme are interspersed with showy passages for the soloist. The central movement is titles 'Arioso', and is more thoroughly composed, featuring a singing melodic line that passes through a wide range of moods before coming to a peaceful close. The solo line has been left broadly unchanged in this arrangement; the accompanying flute parts are relatively straight forward but require conviction and neat articulation.