Mozart: Phantasie für eine Orgelwalzer K608 for flute and strings
Arranged by Bill Thorp with optional ‘continuo style’ keyboard
Three pieces and one sketch by Mozart for mechanical clock or ‘Orgelwalze’ survive. Such clocks had a mechanism whereby music could be played by means of a cylinder, much in the way musical boxes work today. Mozart was commissioned in 1790 by one ‘Herr Müller’; this was in fact Joseph Count Deym von Stritez, who had been compelled to leave Vienna after a duel and had returned under the alias of Müller. Mozart clearly accepted the first commission for financial reasons. He wrote in a letter to his wife Constanze:
“I did start, but unfortunately, because I hate the job, I wasn’t able to finish it. I write some every day but have to postpone as I get bored and surely, if there wasn’t such an important reason to force myself, I would certainly leave off; yes, if it were a large clock, and the thing would sound like a true organ, then it might be fun; but as it is, the work consists solely of little pipes, which sound high-pitched and too childish for my taste.”
It seems likely that at some point a new clock, with a much larger range, was acquired by Deym von Stritez as the resulting music is of extraordinary expressive power: it is barely credible that Mozart could have written this work without a greater stimulus.
Such works invite arrangements as they were never intended to be played by a keyboard and present technical problems in that format. This arrangement of K608 for flute and strings with optional ‘continuo style’ keyboard is a perfect solution.
Duration 15 minutes
Score and set of 6 parts £18
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