To historians, he was the benign but expansionist military dictator of Prussia who epitomized the Age of Reason. To musicians involved in historical performance practice, he was the most high-profile student of Johann Joachim Quantz, the flutist and composer who left us the most comprehensive and detailed discussion of musical performance practice in the 18th century.
As recorderists, we are often told that Frederick the Great (1712-1786) was Quantz’s patron; that he was dedicated and passionate about his flute studies with Quantz, and that he was a productive galant composer of the early, pre-classical era. Yet his music is seldom (if ever) performed or taught.
Whether Frederick the Great was an enthusiastic dilettante or a real musical talent with unrealized creative potential, he has left us a large body of compositions to play. Although nearly all are for the transverse flute, much of this repertoire is quite playable on the alto recorder (some without transposition!), extending the available time period for the golden age of solo alto repertoire from the late-17th to mid 18th-centuries.
Attend our Zoom lecture on Monday, November 20th, at 7:30 P.M. EST, when we will be studying with Jessica Valiente and playing 2 movements from the Flute Sonata in F major, SpiF 11 by Frederick the Great. By virtue of the key (F major) and the range (only 2 low E’s, and the rest falls within the alto range), this particular flute sonata is very well-suited to the alto recorder, especially now that a slight alteration for the low E’s has been made. Had he been a recorderist himself, this could well have been a recorder sonata.
Register now to receive the music in advance.