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Mozart: The Flute Quartets for Flute, Violin, Viola and Cello [Part(s) only]

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  • Staff Pick

Staff Pick

“Classic, Classy, Classical Quartets for Flute and Strings”

Charles Sinden Just Flutes staff member
Early in December 1777, while Mozart was visiting Mannheim, the flautist of the famous Mannheim court orchestra, Johann Baptist Wendling, arranged for him to write several new works on commission from a physician and music lover named Ferdinand Dejean.

Writing to his father on 10 December 1777 Mozart reported that he was to compose “three small, easy and brief concertinos and a couple of quartets for the flute.” The generous prospective fee of 200 gulden was enticing, and Mozart soon set to work.

By 25 December, Mozart had all ready finished the first Flute Quartet in D major (K.285). But the rest of the work proceeded sluggishly from the moment he met Aloysia Weber, with whom he fell head over heels in love.

Now Mozart no longer had a moment’s peace in Mannheim, and it is not surprising that he should make a virtue of neccessity by writing another Flute Quartet (G major, K.285a) in only two movements, in keeping with the Mannheim taste.

In the Mozart literature, the Flute Quartets in C Major and A Major (K.285b/Anh.171 & K.298) have long been associated with the aforementioned Mannheim commissions. In fact, however, analysis of the paper and handwriting of the autograph scores reveal that both works date from his later years in Vienna.

Mozart makes use of various themes by minor contemporaries, cobbling them into a parodistic quartet whose form immediately calls to mind his Piano A major Sonata (K.331).

My personal preference is in favour of the quality of both paper and print in this edition. Page turns are also carefully considered, whereas other editions can be a little unforgiving at times.

From the Publisher

A very readable foreword and extensive Critical Commentary with all necessary information enrich this Urtext edition by master Munich flautist and Mozart expert Henrik Wiese. One may learn there, for instance, that there are some peculiarities in the transmission history of Mozart’s four flute quartets: one quartet (C major, Anh. 171 [K. 285b]) is in all likelihood falsely attributed and thus not by Mozart at all, another (G major, K. 285a) survives in only two movements, and peculiarly at that, raising at least some doubts about the established version, and a third flute quartet, though doubtless by Mozart, remains completely misdated in the Köchel catalogue (that in A major, K. 298, composed in 1786 not 1778). Only the first flute quartet, in D major (K. 285), can be dated clearly, to Mozart’s stay in Mannheim in 1777. There he had fallen hopelessly in love with Aloysia Weber, the elder sister of Constanze who years later would become his wife. This masterful edition is worth acquiring for this work alone.

Difficulty guide: 9
Difficulty level, roughly compared to ABRSM exam grades. 0 is total beginner, 9 is advanced (beyond grade 8).


  • Flute Quartet in D Major KV 285
  • Flute Ouartet in G Major KV 285a
  • Flute Quartet in C major KV Anh. 171 (285b)
  • Flute Quartet in A Major KV 298

Item Details


  • Part 1: Flute
  • Part 2: Violin
  • Part 3: Viola
  • Part 4: Cello
Category: Music for Flute Quartet (Flute, Violin, Viola, Cello)
Publisher: G. Henle Verlag - Urtext
Publisher's reference: HN635
Our Stock Code: 1047363
Media Type: Paperback - Part(s) only (83 pages [score])

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