Frederick II Four Sonatas for Flute and Basso Continuo


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Frederick II Four Sonatas for Flute and Basso Continuo

Frederick II Four Sonatas for Flute and Basso Continuo

Publisher-Musica Rara
Frederick the Great (der Große, Friedrich II)
Editor: Mary Oleskiewicz


These four sonatas stand out for their imaginative power, skill and stylistic variety. This volume, which marks the 300th anniversary of the king’s birth, contains the first edition of four sonatas for solo Flute and Basso Continuo composed by Frederick II, known as “the Great” (1712–1786), King of Prussia from 1740 to 1786.

Composer/Flautist-Frederick II

Frederick II, also known as Frederick the Great, excelled as both a military leader and a musician. Before his reign, Frederick honed his musical skills, studying flute under Johann Joachim Quantz. Their musical partnership lasted until Quantz’s death in 1773. Frederick assembled a group of musicians that formed the core of his ensemble when he became king.

As King of Prussia, Frederick expanded his ensemble to fifty members, including notable musicians like C.P.E. Bach, Karl Heinrich Graun, and Johann Joachim Quantz. They performed at the opera house he opened in 1742 and at evening concerts at Sans-Souci. Frederick actively engaged with his musicians, writing libretti and collaborating with composers. He composed sonatas, concertos, solfeggios, marches, symphonies, and arias.

However, the Seven Years’ War brought a decline in musical activity. Key members left, and no new operas were staged. Frederick’s compositional output decreased, and his flute-playing skills declined. He passed away in 1780, leaving a legacy as a military leader and musician.

Frederick’s musical contributions included sonatas, concertos, solfeggios, marches, symphonies, and arias by composers including K.H. Graun and Quantz. His compositions reflect his passion for music and dedication to fostering a vibrant musical culture.

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