Dittersdorf, Carl Ditters von: Flötenkonzert e-moll

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Urtext  Klavierauszug

(Barthold Kuijken)

This attractive and virtuoso concerto, composed in or before 1760, is apparently the only one Dittersdorf wrote for the flute. Despite his young age, he must have been very familiar with the technical and expressive possibilities of the instrument, unless a gifted dilettante or one of the well-known Viennese flutists such as Mayer, Schmidt or Sartori Vater gave him valuable inside information and practical help or inspiration. The scale and technical characteristics of this piece show that it was still intended for the one-handed flute. Flutes with more keys did not become popular until the next decades.As in most 18th century concertos, no ripieno parts are transmitted, making it very likely that the piece was intended to be played with single strings. Four-part writing is rare, even in the tutti sections. In the Italian fashion of the time, the first and second violins often play in the same piece. The viola is rarely independent; it often doubles the bass in the higher octave, which makes the use of a 16-foot string bass doubtful. The bass is un-natural, but a harpsichord seems desirable, since in some passages the solo flute is accompanied only by the bass. Otherwise, the solo flute is mostly accompanied by unison violins with or without bass.Following 18th century tradition, the solo part contains very few original ornaments and articulations and no dynamic markings. Obviously, this was considered part of the soloist's freedom and responsibility. Although the string parts contain more performance cues, the absence of gaps or ties should not automatically lead to detached playing. Experienced players will understand how to add varied articulation, dynamics or small ornaments.
The original flute part contains the endings of the longest tutti passages (which are printed in cue-size in our flute part, but not in the score). So, unlike many other concertos of this era, the soloist is not asked to double the first violin during the tuttis.
Fermatas near the end of each movement indicate that the soloist must improvise a cadenza. In his autobiography of 1799, Dittersdorf strongly criticised the long and virtuosic cadenzas that had become fashionable, especially among keyboard players, but also among flutists. Quantz, in his Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (1752), informs us that cadenzas should be playable in one breath and gives clear examples and instructions on how to improvise them.