The Magic Flute by W.A. Mozart,
arranged by Antoine de Lhoyer
for Guitar, Violin and Viola, Op. 40

Score 36 pp., $24.95, Presser Order number 494-02885 (EICM-47a)
A set of parts is available here.


This edition is based on an early nineteenth century print, now kept at the Library of Congress in Washington DC that can be dated to circa 1824-25. A remark on the title page states that:

One could sing along with all the numbers, [thus] the intentions of Mozart
have been preserved with exactitude. The guitar part is accessible to all amateurs.

This marketing ploy was often used by publishers, appealing to an amateur market which consisted of guitarists with basic technical proficiency. Obviously, this was not a publication intended for the concert stage, but rather for private performance at home. On examining this arrangement, we can see that the sequence of the numbers and the choice of tonalities does not correspond to the sequence of numbers and their tonalities in known editions of The Magic Flute. Obviously, de Lhoyer had not attempted to arrange the entire opera. Moreover, the sequence he chose for the pieces has no relationship to the Mozart opera and to its original story line. Only seven of the pieces retain the original key, and six of the numbers vary in tonality by a semitone in either direction, with the exception of N° 10 that is a whole tone off the original.

This edition is a perfect vehicle for the introduction of intermediate guitar students to the performance of chamber music with other musicians. Precisely because the sequence of the numbers does not follow the original story line of the opera, there seems to be an obvious disconnect between the separate movements of this apparent suite of famous melodies, suggesting that individual movements of the arrangement could be performed independently of the entire work in any suitable combination. However, attempts to reconstruct the entire arrangement along the lines of the original opera, considering that it includes original variations added by de Lhoyer, would be an artificial conflation and a distortion of both Mozart’s The Magic Flute and this arrangement of it by Antoine de Lhoyer.

Antoine de Lhoyer was born on 6 September 1768 in Clermont-Ferrand, in the heart of France. His family appears to have been a well-to-do famille bourgeoise. Little is known about his childhood, but one source states that he studied music in Paris with excellent masters. In the early autumn of 1789 he embarked upon a military career by entering the Gardes du Corps du Roi, where he served until the imprisonment of the Royal Family in 1791. De Lhoyer left the country at the end of 1791 and went to Coblenz where he enlisted with the armée des Princes, a principal counter-revolutionary unit. His enlistment with this army lasted until the end of 1792. In the ensuing years, time and again de Lhoyer joined military units fighting against revolutionary France: during 1794-97 he participated in the various campaigns of the Austrian army, and in 1799-1800 he was in the armée de Condé, another leading émigré military unit. He settled as a guitarist in Hamburg in 1800 where some of his guitar works, were published. He went to Russia sometime in early 1803; on his way he passed through Berlin where he appeared in a concert in December 1802. He clearly obtained a prominent position at the imperial court in St. Petersburg were he stayed until his return to France in 1812, just before Napoleon’s Russian campaign. He served in various command positions in the French army until his forced retirement in 1830. He died on 15 March, 1852 in Paris at the age age of 84.

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Last Modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 03:04 PM