Carl Stamitz was Czech-German composer, violin, viola and viola d'amore virtuoso. He was the most prominent of the second generation of the Mannheim school. He was first taught music by Johann Stamitz, his father and founder of the Mannheim school. He played in the orchestra at Mannheim from 1762, and in 1770 he moved to Paris. In Paris he was court composer and conductor to the Duc de Noailles before moving to The Hague in 1780 to work as a violist at the court of William V, Prince of Orange. Between 1788 and 1790 he spent a lot of time touring and in the last years of his life moved to Jena, where he was Kapellmeister and a teacher at the University.

Stamitz wrote over fifty symphonies and about as many concertos for various instruments, including at least eight for the flute. His earliest symphonies come from his years with the Mannheim orchestra while his last known symphony is from 1791. He also wrote two operas, Der verliebte Vormond (1787) and Dardanus (1780).

This concerto is a delightful composition, similar in style to Mozart or Haydn, but with some more unexpected turns of form. The opening Allegro is majestic and fanafare-like, giving the work the regal opening typical of the Mannheim school. The Andante non troppo moderato which follows is much more sedate with a beautiful singing melody in the flute, accomapnied by beautifully light pizzicato figures from the orchestra. The finale Rondo. Allegro is bursting with energy, first light and spritely in the flute line, but soon busting out of the strings at full volume. This movement contains one of Stamitz’s most unusual uses of form, with a graceful surprise in the middle.

© Matthew Lynch, 2009

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