Johann Joachim Quantz: Notes and Commentary

Johann Joachim Quantz was a German flutist, flute maker, and composer. He began his musical studies as a child with his uncle’s son-in-law, later going to Dresden and Vienna. He studied composition and pored over scores of the masters to adopt their style. During his tenure in Dresden, he abandoned the violin and the oboe for the flute and studied with Pierre Gabriel Buffardin. It was during this time as musician to Frederick Augustus II of Poland that he began to perform more on the instrument.

He gradually became known as the finest flautist in Europe, and toured France and England. He became a flute teacher, flute maker, and composer to Frederick II of Prussia (Frederick the Great) in 1740. He was an innovator in flute design, adding keys to the instrument to help with intonation. He often criticized Vivaldi for being too wild when he played.

Although Quantz wrote many pieces of music, mainly for the flute (including around 300 flute concertos and more than 200 sonatas), he is best known today as the author of Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (1752) (“On Playing the Flute”), a treatise on traverso flute playing. It is a valuable source of reference regarding performance practice and flute technique in the 18th century. He lived from January 30, 1697, to July 12, 1773.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

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