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1750 - 1791

Andante in F Major, K. 616
"The Flute Clock"

arranged by Mark Starr for flute solo and chamber orchestra
from Mozart's original work for mechanical flute clock (1791)

link to biography of Mozart

A demo recording of this arrangement -- realized with digital musical sounds -- will begin to play automatically upon opening this page.  If you do not wish listen to it, please click on the STOP button (or the PAUSE button) on the media player, below. You may wish to adjust the volume on your computer to a more comfortable level.


In early 1791, Mozart was hard at work on "The Magic Flute." Only a few months earlier, he had composed, on commission from Count Deym, two magnificent fantasies for the mechanical organ at the Muller Exhibition Hall in Vienna. As described in a notice published in the Vienna Zeitung, which cited the mechanical performance of Mozart's music, this wondrous instrument and Mozart's extraordinary works were attracting considerable crowds to "the well-lighted establishment." Now, Mozart was an established recording artist! Thus, it is not surprising that he was sought out by a maker of flute clocks to compose yet another mechanical work, this time for incorporation into their delightful instruments.

Here is an ornamented 18th Century flute clock:



Flute clocks were also mechanical organs that played music encoded with pins on a rotating cylinder - except these flute clocks were much smaller devices than Count Deym's mechanical concert organ. The pipes in the flute clocks were so small that the instrument only descended to G below middle C, the lowest note on the violin, and it played at a much lower volume. Nevertheless, Mozart excelled himself yet again, and turned out a fabulous composition especially designed to be performed by a machine.

Here are the flute pipes from an 18th Century flute-clock:


And here is the cylinder/pin mechanism inside an 18th Century flute-clock:


This work differs greatly from the vast orchestral canvas of the two fantasies for mechanical organ (K. 594 and K. 606.) Mozart notated K. 616 on three staffs, giving no indication of any musical instruments he may have had in mind.

But clearly, the piece was designed as a solo for a wind instrument that covers the exact same range as the flute, accompanied by an ensemble (such as a small orchestra.)

Moreover, this piece is late Mozart - about as late as one can get. Only several months after composing this Andante, Mozart was dead.

Mark Starr has arranged this music for flute and orchestra - the same small orchestra that Mozart used in many of his concertos, rondos and andantes. To do so, it was necessary to fill in Mozart's incomplete harmonies, and expand the bass line to notes below G (a relatively easy task, since Mozart often doubled his bass lines at the octave.)

Here we have a concert Andante of the highest musical quality. To perform it on the flute takes considerable virtuosity and style. The music is permeated with the same charming character of The Magic Flute (although all the themes are new.)

This orchestration enables flute soloists to perform this splendid but little-known work together with orchestra. And the piano reduction - which is available separately - will enable flutists to play the work on recitals with piano

The full score is available for perusal, audition and purchase, downloading and printing on www.sibeliusmusic.com.  Here is the link to the score:


The orchestral parts are available on rental only from Noteworthy Musical Editions; 132 Loucks Avenue, Los Altos, CA 94022-1045 USA. Tel. 650-948-2060.


2 oboes
2 bassoons
2 horns

In addition to the full score, Mark Starr has also prepared a reduction for flute and piano of his arrangement.  This flute/piano reduction is available on www.sibeliusmusic.com for perusal, audition and purchase, downloading and printing.  Here is a link to the flute/piano reduction:


duration: 6 minutes