Mysliveček's Flute Concerto to be given UK premiere

Revival of work by Czech composer who influenced Mozart

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A forgotten concerto by a composer said to be one of Mozart’s early musical influences is to be given its UK premiere.

Australian flautist Ana de le Vega found a copy of Mysliveček’s Flute Concerto in D in the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra’s (JPO) library in Ostrava in June, and is set to bring it to London's Cadogan Hall with the English Chamber Orchestra.

‘I was so excited to find the piece,’ says de la Vega. ‘The strong connection between Mysliveček and Mozart is evident in the music. There are all those bubbles, love of life and ecstasy that you hear in Mozart.’

Mysliveček met Mozart and his father Leopold in 1770, and they remained friends for a good eight years. Letters between Wolfgang and Leopold were packed with references to the Czech composer, and, it’s thought, the younger Mozart used Mysliveček’s Nitteti as a model when penning his first opera seria, Mitridate.

After lapsing into obscurity, the Flute Concerto was rediscovered in 1943 in the University Library of Wrocław by the Czech flautist and musicologist Milan Munclinger. He edited the piece and oversaw the publication of the work by a Prague publishing house. However de la Vega believes this is the first time the work has been performed publicly in the UK.

Mysliveček might be a less than familiar name to many, but de Vega’s interest was also shared by the late Sir Charles Mackerras, a renowned Mozartian and interpreter of Czech music. His nephew, Alexander Briger, will be conducting the London performance.

‘Briger told me that towards the end of his life, Sir Charles talked about Mysliveček and kept on producing original manuscripts. It was a new, real interest for him,’ explains de la Vega. ‘I’m excited to know that Sir Charles also had a bee in his bonnet about this composer. I love this Concerto. I thought if Mozart gave Mysliveček the thumbs up, then we ought to have a go.’

Rebecca Franks

The UK premiere of Mysliveček's Flute Concerto takes place on Thursday 2 December at the Cadogan Hall, London

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