The eighteenth century was a glorious era for the flute. Towards the end of the previous century the instrument received a key, which enabled the flute to produce every chromatic note within its range. Numerous composers were attracted to the flute and wrote a large number of concertos for it. Many remain still popular today, including the G-major and D-major concertos by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Flute concertos were much less popular in the following century, but composers started to create such pieces in large quantity again after the instrument became equipped with a highly developed mechanical key system in the late nineteenth century. Among the twentieth century flute concertos, two are regarded as pieces every professional flutist must learn. One is that by Jacques Ibert, and the other, by Carl Nielsen.
Nielsen’s Flute Concerto was composed in 1926. Its premier took place on October 21, 1926 in Paris. This two-movement work follows the compositional technique of the time, thus lacking tonal stability. In the first movement, the flute plays a variety of lively passages as well as cantabile melodies in many key areas. The same tendency can be observed in the final movement, in which dialogues between solo flute and other instruments in orchestra like timpani and bass trombone make this piece enchanting.