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Georg Philipp Telemann & Bach
Discussions - Part 1

Doubtful Works / The Telemann Tragedy

Luke Hubbard wrote (November 29, 2004):
I have several harpsichord pieces of which I heard their authenticity being put into question. The works are:
BWV 820
BWV 832
BWV 833

They certainly do not sound like Bach. Still, I saw they aren't maked as doubtful by most sources.

If you happen to know more about these, I would be thankful if you tell me more!

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 29, 2004):
[To Luke Hubbard] Their authenticity is according to the Möller MS and the Andreas-Bach-Buch. And according to the current BWV, they're in the main section of the catalog (i.e. not currently in question).

A good edition to play from is the Henle book of "Suites/Sonatas/Capriccios/Variations" which has all three of these. Another good one for 820 and 833 is the Lohmann organ edition, Breitkopf 6583.

I've played them all, and taught 832 to a student. I agree, they don't seem completely like the Bach we know from his later music. In some of the movements of 820 it's strange that he stays in the tonic for so long. In 833 the texture and ornamentation remind me of Böhm, or JG Walther. And 833 has such Frenchy touches in it. Could be misattributions, or it could just be young Bach learning these styles by trying out things along such models.

Thanks for the serendipity of this question! I'd written all the above, and was ready to send it, but then decided I'd listen to the pieces again for enjoyment this morning. So, I got out the Robert Hill disc that has all three of these (volume 102 of Hanssler)...and behold, there in the case along with it was another long-lost disc that I've been looking for! I must have stuck it in there doubling them up, sometime last year when I didn't have the right CD case at hand.....

Luke Hubbard wrote (November 30, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] Thank you very much, Brad, for the helpful comments you have provided regarding these rather obscure works. However unmarked as doubtful in official compendiums of Bach's pieces, I still find them unworthy to include them in my collection.

For many years I've tried to define what makes Bach's music so heavily superior to that of other composers. Yesterday, I've listened to Fantasia and Imitatio in B minor, BWV 563 , performed by Hans Fagius. Just four minutes length, but how much perfection is stored within these heavenly four minutes... Just take a look on the thematical variation, how the gorgeous counterpoint remains suple and moving, never trashed by some wish for cheap effects which could indeed have given Bach more fame during his lifetime. This music has beauty beyond words. For the four minutes, I feel healed of my growing spite over this filthy decadent world we are all sinking in.

Doug Cowling wrote (November 30, 2004):
Luke Hubbard wrote:
< For many years I've tried to define what makes Bach's music so heavily superior to that of other composers. >
He was one of the most admired, popular and prolific composers of the 18th century and yet not a single work is on the "A List". Bach's "Minuet in G" is recognized more than his entire oeuvre.

Poor Telemann!

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (November 30, 2004):
[To Doug Cowling] Air on the G string is not the only most recognizable work of Bach---his "Jesu of Joy's desiring" is almost as well known as Händel's "Halleluia" Chorus especially among church goers.

There is also the Brandenburg Concerti which perhaps many may not know the name of but have heard many times on PBS, NBC,and other broadcast networks as background music or Intros to programs.

Many of Bach's works have also been used in Movies such as the last Movement to one of the Passions which was used in the Movie "The Talented Mr. Ripley". While many people may not recognize the title and Bach as the composer they do know the piece.

Finally the Magnificat is well known although not performed as often as it should be. One hearing of the Cantata# 29 written for a political event is enough to demand many more hearings also---for hear we hear Bach in Concertante style and wish he had written and Organ Concerto or maybe he did and they have not survived. I have put together an Organ Concerto, however, based on works that Bach has written and have added very little of my own to them. One would think that these were the work of Bach himself upon hearing until I let you in on the secret which Paderewski also did when challenged to write something like Mozart.

The true tragedy of any Baroque composer of Bach's time was to be overshadowed by him so that he is not recognized by the common man today. One of the exception to this is Vivaldi and to a lesser extent Corelli. One seldom hears the music of the Bach sons these days in performance and seldom on the radio.

Dale Gedcke wrote (November 30, 2004):
[To Doug Cowling] If you are looking for some Telemann music that sounds great, buy the CD, Telemann for Trumpet (see: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?product_id=1144148)

Eric Bergerud wrote (November 30, 2004):
[To Dale Gedcke] I've also been collecting Telemann lately. His opera Orpheus (Harmonia Mundi) under Rene Jacobs is delightful - in three languages no less. The Essercizii Musici by the Cameratta Koln (Harmonia Mundi) is four CDs but worth it if still in print. And as noted previously, Brilliant has issued a new edition of the complete Tafelmusik by the Dutch group Musica Amphion which I like very much.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 30, 2004):
[To Eric Bergerud] Don't miss this Paul Dombrecht disc of Telemann which has been on both Vanguard Classics and Passacaille: Amazon.com
(Not sure why those web samples aren't working....)

The first concerto on the disc starts with tonic in the bass, soloist hanging out on the 9th (!), and a diminished chord on the 7th degree in the accompanying strings! What an entrance.

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (November 30, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< The first concerto on the disc starts with tonic in the bass, soloist hanging out on the 9th (!), and a diminished chord on the 7th degree in the accompanying strings! What an entrance. >
wow! was that even considered "legal" back then?

John Pike wrote (December 1, 2004):
[To Eric Bergerud] I've been reading a fair amount recently about the rediscovery of the Berlin Singakademie archive in Kiev and its subsequent return to Berlin. The Kiev authorities were very helpful in seeing this through, although one particular conductor there had used the manuscripts almost exclusively for several decades without letting on to anyone else that he knew about them. Ironically, scholars can view all the manuscipts on microfiche in Kiev, but not in Berlin, where only a small percentage of the manuscipts have been made available to scholars on microfiche. The manuscipts include the Alt Bachisches Archiv, of which there is now a recording by Cantus Colln and Junghaenel. This includes music by JS Bach and his forefathers which JS Bach collected for posterity. There are also many works by CPE Bach, which are now being prepared by Christoph Wolff and others for a critical edition. This includes 20 Passions, keyboard concertos and many other works. However, most of the manuscripts are not by Bachs at all. There is much Italian music and music by other German composers. Telemann is particularly well represented, with 20 Passions, 200 cantatas and many other works.

I look forward to a long-overdue reappraisal of the work of these many other composers when proper editions have been prepared. Although overshadowed by the towering genius of JS Bach, there is some truly wonderful music already in the public domain by many of these other composers, so we can anticipate some pretty amazing discoveries.

Johan van Veen wrote (December 2, 2004):
[To John Pike] One of the pieces only known from the archive is a short 'historia' on Christmas by Rosenmüller, which is included on the new disc of Cantus Cölln on Harmonia mundi - exellent music in a brilliant performance.

 

Telemann Cantatas (Was BWV 73 "Herr, wie du willt, so schick's mit mir": Libretti)

Continue of discussion from: Cantata BWV 73 - Discussions Part 2

John Pike wrote (January 15, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< The MGG1 has references such as the following: There is a collection of these cantata texts in a library in Hannover from the estate of one, Heiliger, in which there are over a hundred cantatas performed by Telemann, G. Benda, and both Grauns. (Many of Telemann's cantatas, for instance, are listed by name in the catalog of his works, but the music is lost. Even a few of Bach's cantatas likewise exist only in libretto format, while the music for them is not extant.) >
I'm wondering whether the music for some of these "lost" Telemann cantatas has now been found. When the Singakademie Archive was rediscovered in Kiev about 6 years ago, I think it included about 200 Telemann cantatas, again I think mostly previously unknown. I know he wrote an extraordinary amount, but 200 cantatas must amount to a fair proportion of his total canata output.

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 16, 2006):
Telemann's prodigious cantata output

The following excerpt may be of interest so some readers. The accusation used against Telemann in the past is "Vielschreiber" ("a hack writer"). Why not have more of his cantatas performed properly and allow the present and subsequent generations to come up with their own assessment of the quality of Telemann's compositions?

>>During his extraordinarily long career as a composer of church music Telemann wrote at least 20 complete annual cycles, a dozen of which survive more or less intact. Many others, some almost totally lost, must have constituted a patchwork of new and old compositions. Of the 1700 cantatas for which his authorship is reasonably certain, about 1400 are extant. This enormous output resulted largely from the fact that Telemann had to supply a steady stream of annual cycles to Eisenach (one every two years) and, after 1721, to Frankfurt (one every three years) as well; before 1730, most of his cycles appear to have been intended in the first place for Eisenach, with parallel and subsequent performances occurring in Frankfurt and Hamburg. Telemann's productivity served him well in managing the heavy workload at Hamburg: whereas only one cantata was heard on Sunday in Frankfurt, in Hamburg Telemann had to supply a cantata before the sermon, another after the sermon, and concluding music at the end of the service (often an aria followed by a chorale). To meet these demands he often repeated cantatas from earlier Eisenach, Frankfurt and Hamburg cycles and took the concluding music from one of the cantatas composed for that Sunday. Although few composers of the time published church cantatas, in Hamburg Telemann brought out four complete cycles and published the arias from a fifth. The post-sermon cantatas for 1725-6 appeared as Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst (fig.2). This cycle's limited scoring (voice, melody instrument and continuo) and restricted scope (two da capo arias separated by a recitative) made it suitable for churches with small musical establishments and for domestic worship; the Fortsetzung des Harmonischen Gottesdienstes of 1731-2, for which we also possess expanded versions in copyists' manuscripts, differs only in requiring two melody instruments. In the published cycle of 1727 Telemann included only the arias from the pre-sermon cantatas for 1726-7, arranging them for voice and continuo and rewriting the bass line to include thematic material played originally by the strings. The published cycles of 1744 (written by 1741-2) and 1748-9 have larger scorings, but make limited use of the full instrumental forces. Telemann's cantatas, both published and unpublished, circulated widely during his lifetime: in 1758 Johann Ernst Bach claimed that there were few German Protestant churches in which Telemann's cantata cycles were not performed. Although most of Telemann's earliest cantatas appear to be lost, a Hildesheim or Leipzig origin for a number of works surviving in manuscript copies is suggested by their stylistic proximity to the late 17th-century central German tradition, rather than to the 'madrigalian' type of cantata established in 1700 by Erdmann Neumeister. From the beginning of his career, Telemann strove for maximum stylistic and formal variety between cycles and from cantata to cantata. Most cycles acquired titles during Telemann's lifetime: the 'Geistliche Singen und Spielen' (Eisenach, 1710-11), Telemann's earliest cycle to survive complete, is one of the first attempts at writing church music in the style of contemporary secular cantatas and operas; the 'Französischer Jahrgang' (Eisenach and Frankfurt, 1714-15) makes use of poetic rondeau forms and stresses certain aspects of French musical style; the two overlapping 'Concerten-Jahrgänge' (Eisenach and Frankfurt, 1716-17 and 1720-21) are in a predominantly Italian style; and the 'Sicilianischer Jahrgang' (Eisenach, 1719-20) features song-like movements in triple meter and an overall pastoral idiom. Beginning with the Eisenach period, all of Telemann's cantata texts were written specifically for him by Neumeister and others. The rich scoring of many cantatas is enhanced by Telemann's imaginative handling of vocal and instrumental colour, especially evident in arias with obbligato instruments. Despite the fugal textures of many choruses and the sometimes elaborate accompaniments to arias, Telemann's counterpoint maintains a characteristic transparency, a quality highly valued by his contemporaries.

Printed series of cantatas:

Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst, oder Geistliche Cantaten zum allgemeinen Gebrauche, 1v, 1 inst, bc (Hamburg, 1725-6); T ii-v [1725-6)
Auszug der jemusicalischen und auf die gewöhnlichen Evangelien gerichteten Arien (J.F. Helbig), 1v, bc (Hamburg, 1727) [cycle of 1726-7, arias only] [1727]
Fortsetzung des Harmonischen Gottesdienstes (T.H. Schubart), 1v, 2 insts, bc (Hamburg, 1731-2) [undated cycle in reduced scoring] [1731-2]
Musicalisches Lob Gottes in der Gemeine des Herrn (E. Neumeister), 3vv, str, bc [with tpts, timp for festivals] (Nuremberg, 1744) [1744]
Untitled cycle of cants. (D. Stoppe), 1 solo v, 4vv, str, bc [with tpts, timp for festivals] (Hermsdorff, 1748-9) [1748-9]

As the only musician among Telemann's heirs, the composer's grandson Georg Michael inherited a large number of autographs and manuscript copies of vocal works. The rest of Telemann's musical estate - including Passions, oratorios, Kapitänsmusiken, occasional vocal works and printed collections, but apparently no church cantatas - was sold at a Hamburg auction on 6 September 1769. Much of this material has since disappeared, and the auction catalogue does not survive. During his time as Kantor at Riga (1773-1831) Georg Michael gave numerous performances of his grandfather's sacred vocal works, often in his own arrangements that entailed substantial revisions of the musical text. Despite the fact that many of these revisions were entered directly on to the autographs, Georg Michael was for the most part an honourable guardian of his grandfather's legacy: his arrangements were intended to present Telemann's music to later generations in the best possible light, and he planned to publish some of the church cantatas, motets and letters. Following Georg Michael's death, Telemann's manuscripts were acquired by the music collector Georg Poelchau, who bequeathed them to the Königliche Bibliothek in Berlin.

During the last third of the 18th century Telemann's music, especially his late oratorios and certain instrumental chamber works, remained known to many musicians. Performances of vocal works, some directed by Telemann's successor C.P.E. Bach, were given regularly in Hamburg until 1776, then sporadically during the 1780s and 90s; further performances are known to have taken place in Frankfurt, Meiningen, Lübeck, Ludwigsburg, Pszcyna, Brasov, Gdañsk and Zagan. In Paris and London reprints of the instrumental works were still being sold in the 1760s and 70s. Vocal and instrumental works were advertised by Breitkopf between 1761 and 1780, and the Hamburg firm of J.C. Westphal offered numerous sacred and secular vocal works between 1772 and 1799. Yet by the early years of the 19th century, knowledge and appreciation of Telemann's music was in rapid decline; an 1832 revival of Der Tod Jesu in Vienna was apparently the last major performance of Telemann's music until the 20th century. In 1894 Salomon Kümmerle could observe that "lost and forgotten!" has long been the fate of the entire enormous mass of Telemann's works'.

The 19th century's general ignorance of Telemann's music is reflected in the reliance of most lexicographers on the 1770 assessment by the Hamburg professor Christoph Daniel Ebeling, filtered through Gerber's Lexicon article of 1792. Ebeling criticized the prominence of obbligato instruments in arias, the musical depiction of individual words or natural sounds rather than an overall affect, obsolete declamation in arias and the use of inferior or mediocre texts in all but the latest church compositions. Undoubtedly the most severe, and as it turned out most influential, criticism was the remark that 'in general, [Telemann] would have been greater had it not been so easy for him to write so unspeakably much. Polygraphs seldom produce masterpieces'. Telemann as 'polygraph' or 'Vielschreiber' and addicted word-painter are themes that run through most 19th-century accounts of his life and works. It is therefore ironic that Ebeling, like many of his late 18th-century contemporaries, actually found much to praise in Telemann's music. When, in the second half of the 19th century, the music was unfairly judged according to the very different aesthetic standards of J.S. Bach's, it was considered to be merely 'fashionable' and lacking in religious fervour. In their Bach biographies Spitta and Schweitzer denigrated Telemann's church cantatas while praising works attributed to Bach that have since been shown to be by Telemann. A growing interest in Telemann's music around the turn of the 20th century culminated in the biographical accounts of Schneider and Rolland, which gave a rational, balanced view of his creativity and led to more intense study of the man and his music. Several dissertations written between the two world wars, together with the publication of numerous performing and scholarly editions, paved the way for Bärenreiter's selected critical edition begun in 1950. The appearance of thematic catalogues during the 1980s and 1990s allowed the first accurate survey to be made of Telemann's output of well over 3000 works.<<

From the article by Steven Zohn on Telemann in the Grove Music Online, Oxford University Press, 2006, acc. 2/15/06

Eric Bergerud wrote (January 16, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< The following excerpt may be of interest so some readers. The accusation used against Telemann in the past is "Vielschreiber" ("a hack writer"). Why not have more of his cantatas performed properly and allow the present and subsequent generations to come up with their own assessment of the quality of Telemann's compositions? >
I wish practice and theory always went together. I couldn't agree more with Mr. Braatz that Telemann's music is wonderful. There are a couple of dozen Telemann cantata CDs in print in the US. They are full price. In only own the Danzig Cantatas and I like them a lot. Taflelmusick and Esssercizii Musicii, along with some other instrumental CDs, are on the player here very often: I like them (and other Telemann instrumental works I have) better than Vivaldi. I'd own more cantatas if all of them weren't full price. But get what you pay for, and maybe picking up some Telemann CDs would make more sense than getting a third full Bach cycle.

John Pike wrote (January 16, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< The following excerpt may be of interest so some readers. The accusation used against Telemann in the past is "Vielschreiber" ("a hack writer"). Why not have more of his cantatas performed properly and allow the present and subsequent generations to come up with their own assessment of the quality of Telemann's compositions?
>>During his extraordinarily long career as a composer of church music
Telemann wrote at least 20 complete annual cycles, a dozen of which survive more or less intact. Many others, some almost totally lost, must have constituted a patchwork of new and old compositions. Of the 1700 cantatas for which his authorship is reasonably certain, about 1400 are extant. <<
Thank you. This is most interesting. I would like to say that my own comments about "I knew he wrote an awful lot" were in no way an indication of my views on the quality of his compositions. Sadly, I have not had the time or money to explore Telemann's music much but it is certainly very true that when I have heard his chamber music played in concerts I have often been very moved. Unfortunately, I think he was overshadowed by the towering genius of JS Bach. I have 3 complete Bach cantata cycles and am in the process of acquiring 3 more...Gardiner, Suzuki and Herreweghe (the latter not planned to be complete). I don't even have any Koopman. With all this, it is hardly surprising that I have little time for much else. This is a fate that has fallen to many worthy composers in the past...being overshadowed by an even more talented contemporary.

Clearly, my guess that 200 cantatas must represent a fair chunk of Telemann's total output was very wide of the mark. I am wondering whether any of the 300 missing cantatas were rediscovered in the 200 found in the Singakademie Archive.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 16, 2006):
John Pike wrote:
< Thank you. This is most interesting. I would like to say that my own comments about "I knew he wrote an awful lot" were in no way an indication of my views on the quality of his compositions. >
I've never understood the reason for what I call the Telemann Failure Syndrome. Why is it that even after 50 years of dedicated promotion by the early music community, not a single work by Telemann has entered the popular imagination? His music was lionized by his contemporaries and there are dozens of beautiful works in his oeuvre. But the Vivaldi revival started at the same time, and today you can't turn on the television without hearing him in commercials.

I know everyone here will rush forward with examples of his music, but the brutal fact is that his music is not programmed by orchestras and choirs, and he has zero profile in the popular imagination. Why is it that Bach has DOZENS of choral works which move and excite us and poor Georg has nothing to hum in those thousands of cantatas?

I'm not prepared to say that "Bach was a better composer" -- even though I'm seriously thinking of having his initials as a tattoo!. To make that subjective judgment would be to negate the experience and judgement of Telemann's contemporaries. Perhaps Telemann should be a corrective to our modern arrogance that we can really recover the aesthetic and mood of the 18th century. Bach has to be timeless because we can never experience his timeliness.

Chris Rowson wrote (January 16, 2006):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< ... Perhaps Telemann should be a corrective to our modern arrogance that we can really recover the aesthetic and mood of the 18th century. Bach has to be timeless because we can never experience his timeliness.>
I think there is a lot of truth in this. One aspect of it is that much of Telemann´s music is rather delicate, and needs to be given space and time to allow its beauty to develop. The description of the simpler cantata cycles, for example the one with only one melody instrument throughout, make me think of the songs of George Bickham´s Musical Entertainer. I recently had the extraordinary experience of preparing some of these for recording. It required us to spend months working to develop any kind of understanding of how this music could be used, because treated in the usual way, these pieces vanish like morning mist.

Bach´s music is so superbly crafted that it survives almost any treatment and mistreatment and remains marvellous, but these more delicate blooms need gentler attention.

Johan van Veen wrote (January 16, 2006):
[To Chris Rowson] You probably refer to the cycle 'Harmonischer Gottesdienst'. These cantatas are wonderful and should be ideal material for any singer looking for music with a limited scoring, as these are written for one voice (divided into 'high' and 'low'), one instrument and bc. But I agree that they require a lot from the performers, and it is perhaps due to poor performances that they are far less popular than they deserve to be.

Johan van Veen wrote (January 16, 2006):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I've never understood the reason for what I call the Telemann Failure Syndrome. Why is it that even after 50 years of dedicated promotion by the early music community, not a single work by Telemann has entered the popular imagination? His music was lionized by his contemporaries and there are dozens of beautiful works in his oeuvre. But the Vivaldi revival started at the same time, and today you can't turn on the television without hearing him in commercials. >
I don't think it is as bad as you suggest. In fact, Telemann's chamber music and orchestral overtures are frequently performed. His collection 'Tafelmusik', for instance, has been recorded completely several times. (I can think of at least five complete recordings). Other pieces are also popular, for instance from the Essercizii Musici, or the 'Paris Quartets'. And some of his overtures are often played by baroque orchestras, like the 'Hamburger Ebb und Fluth', or the 'Don Quichotte', and also the Overture for recorder and strings in a minor.

< I know everyone here will rush forward with examples of his music, but the brutal fact is that his music is not programmed by orchestras and choirs, and he has zero profile in the popular imagination. Why is it that Bach has DOZENS of choral works which move and excite us and poor Georg has nothing to hum in those thousands of cantatas?
I'm not prepared to say that "Bach was a better composer" -- even though I'm seriously thinking of having his initials as a tattoo!. To make that subjective judgment would be to negate the experience and judgement of
Telemann's contemporaries. Perhaps Telemann should be a corrective to our modern arrogance that we can really recover the aesthetic and mood of the 18th century. Bach has to be timeless because we can never experience his timeliness. >
You are right in referring to the aspect of the esthetics. In our time Bach is used as a standard, and all music has to compete with Bach's works. But Bach's style was out of fashion in his time, and Telemann was much more in line with contemporary taste. It is perhaps that taste which gives many people today some trouble, as they find it too easy-going and lacking depth and sincerity. It is my experience that Telemann's vocal works can only be appreciated when they are listened to carefully, and much attention is paid to the way Telemann sets words to music.

Another reason for the relative neglect of Telemann's vocal oeuvre could be that in the past some of his Passions have been recorded in really awful performances, without any bite and substance. When I heard one of his Passions, conducted by Kurt Redel, I was convincthat Telemann's Passions were really not worth listening to. Right now I know better, as really good recordings of some Passions are available.

The best recordings to look out for are on German labels, like Capriccio, Carus and CPO.

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 16, 2006):
John Pike wrote:
>>I am wondering whether any of the 300 missing cantatas were rediscovered in the 200 found in the Singakademie Archive.<<
Here are some googled internet sources regarding relatively recent (re)discoveries of Telemann's music belonging to the Singakademie Archive: http://muse.jhu.edu/cgi-bin/access.cgi?uri=/journals/notes/v058/58.2wolff.pdf

or: http://www.oudemuziek.nl/english/tijdschrift/artikelSAK.htm

To sum it all up:

220 cantatas by Telemann (of which 25 are certainly unique)

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 16, 2006):
Johan van Veen wrote:
>>Another reason for the relative neglect of Telemann's vocal oeuvre could be that in the past some of his Passions have been recorded in really awful performances, without any bite and substance.<<
>>In jedem der 46 Hamburger Amtsjahre hat Telemann eine neue Passion aufgeführt. Nur zweimal wurden in dieser Zeit ältere seiner Kompositionen in ihren wesentlichen Teilen parodiert....<< Martin Ruhnke, MGG1, Bärenreiter, 1986

("In each one of his 46 years as Director of Music in Hamburg, Telemann composed and performed a new Passion. Only twice during this period did he reuse most of the materials from older compositions....")

In addition to his 46 Passions, Telemann amazingly still had to keep composing and performing all those cantatas required for each Sunday (at least one before and another after the sermon). During these years Telemann also composed operas and additional music for civic occasions!

Ruhnke also points out: >>Im Gegensatz zu G.F. Händel ist Telemann niemals durch einen tüchtigen Lehrer in das Musikhandwerk eingeführt worden, sondern hat sich als Autodidakt seine Fertigkeit in der Komposition und im Instrumenten-Spiel angeeignet. Im Gegensatz zu J.S. Bach war er nach seiner Herkunft und nach der Lebensstellung seiner Vorfahren keineswegs zum Musiker prädestiniert, sondern er hat diesen Beruf, zu dem er sich von Gott und Natur bestimmt fühlte, gegen den beharrlichen Widerstand seiner Verwandten gewählt.<<

("In contrast to Händel, Telemann never had any music instruction from a capable teacher, but rather acquired his capabilities in composition and in playing instruments on his own.{He was essentially an autodidact.} Compared to J.S. Bach, Telemann was not predestined through his heritage and social position of his forebears to be a musician, a calling for which he personally thought himself to be predetermined by God and Nature, and which he chose even against the continued opposition of his family and relatives.")

Santu de Silva wrote (January 16, 2006):
I'm only familiar with Telemann's concerti (including Taffelmusik), and enjoy them immensely. But I, too, don't listen to them anywhere near as much as Bach. I must rectify this error.

Arch, off to listen to some Telemann.

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 17, 2006):
4 Cantatas in BWV were actually composed by Georg Philipp Telemann (= GPT): BWV 141, BWV 160, BWV 218, BWV 219.
The first two Mvts. of the Motet BWV Anh 160 were composed by J.S. Bach and the 3rd by GPT.
Some movements in Passion Pasticcio BWV 1088 were composed by GPT (J.S. Bach only one arioso).
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Telemann-Georg-Philipp.htm

Since I have recordings of all these works, it means that I have some vocal music by GPT to listen to.
This OT discussion has encouraged my appetite to give him a try in the next couple of days...

Tom Hens wrote (January 17, 2006):
For clarification (or to be pedantic, however you like to call it):
< The first two Mvts. of the Motet BWV Anh 160 were composed by J.S. Bach and the 3rd by GPT. >
That is now BWV Anh. III 160 (the motet "Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt"). The one movement which is known with certainty to have been composed by JSB used to have the separate number BWV 231, but is now classified as BWV 28/2a. This motet is of course not to be confused with BWV 160, now also in Anhang III (the cantata "Ich weiß, daß mein Erlöser lebt"), which is by GPT. So, please, please, do not ever confuse "BWV Anh. III 160" with "BWV 160 (Anh. III)", lest you want to incur the eternal wrath of the editors of the BWV.

< Some movements in Passion Pasticcio BWV 1088 were composed by GPT (J.S. Bach only one arioso). >
That number only applies to the one arioso by JSB. The whole of the pasticcio
doesn't have a BWV number. Not even in in the murky backwater that is Anhang
III, with its four different numbering schemes listed in parallel.

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 17, 2006):
Tom Hens wrote:
>>For clarification (or to be pedantic, however you like to call it)<<
Updating and summarizing from the NBA KBs we have the following correspondences (The TVWV numbers are the current specific assignments in Telemann's official catalog of works):

BWV 141 "Das ist je gewißlich wahr" TVWV 1:182

BWV 160 "Ich weiß, dass mein Erlöser lebt" TVWV 1:877

BWV 218 "Gott der Hoffnung erfülle euch" TVWV 1:634

BWV 219 "Siehe, es hat überwunden der Löwe" TVWV 1:1328

BWV Anhang 156 "Herr Christ der ein'ge Gottessohn" TVWV 1:732

BWV Anhang 160 "Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt" Mvt. 3 is from a Telemann Christmas cantata "Lobt Gott, ihr Christen allzu gleich / Herr Gott, dich loben wir" TVWV 1:1066

[Mvt 1 not by Bach, original source not located, Mvt. 2 is someone else's arrangement of Bach's BWV 28/2]

"Der Herr ist König" TVWV deest (Bach performed and slightly modified 2 mvts. of this 9 mvt. Telemann cantata)

BWV 1088 -This is a part of a cantata for Holy Week entitled "Wer ist der, so von Edom kömmt" copied by Johann Christoph Altnickol. CPE Bach wrote on the title page "Passion | von | Graun" [Carl Heinrich Graun]

Three mvts. are by J. S. Bach:

BWV 127/1 Variante "Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott" (Mvt. 19)

BWV 1088 "So heb ich denn mein Auge sehnlich auf" Recitativo (Mvt. 20)

BWV deest "Der Gerechte kommt um" Chorus (Mvt. 39)

John Pike wrote (January 17, 2006):
Chris Rowson wrote:
< Bach´s music is so superbly crafted thatit survives almost any treatment and mistreatment and remains marvellous, but these more delicate blooms need gentler attention. >
I agree. I suspect that there is a lot of very fine music out there that is not as well known as it deserves to be because some of it has not yet received ideal performance. Last year, Brad was saying, I think, that music by Quantz was elevated from the good to excellent simply by using the temperament which he has proposed as being Bach's, and which, if true, Quantz would have known through his intimate connections with CPE Bach at the court of Frederick the Great.

Nor does this principle apply to lesser known composers only. The old anecdote about Mozart's music being "too easy for children and far too difficult for professionals" comes to mind.

John Pike wrote (January 17, 2006):
Johan van Veen wrote:
The best recordings to look out for are on German labels, like Capriccio, Carus and CPO. >
Yes. I have a number of recordings at home on Capriccio of music by members of the Bach family other than JS, and I also have a number of Wolfgang Helbich's excellent recordings of apocryphal Bach works for CPO, some of them now known to be by Telemann. Some of it is very enjoyable, and I would much rather spend my time listening to it than works by many better known composers.

I have long pined after many other recordings on CPO (and some on Capriccio) of works by near contemporaries of JS Bach.

John Pike wrote (January 17, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< http://www.oudemuziek.nl/english/tijdschrift/artikelSAK.htm
To sum it all up:
220 cantatas by
Telemann (of which 25 are certainly unique) >
Many thanks. That is clear.

John Pike wrote (January 17, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< ("In each one of his 46 years as Director of Music in Hamburg, Telemann composed and performed a new Passion. Only twice during this period did he reuse most of the materials from older compositions....")
In addition to his 46 Passions,
Telemann amazingly still had to keep composing and performing all those cantatas required for each Sunday (at least one before and another after the sermon). During these years Telemann also composed operas and additional music for civic occasions!
("In contrast to Händel,
Telemann never had any music instruction from a capable teacher, but rather acquired his capabilities in composition and in playing instruments on his own.{He was essentially an autodidact.} Compared to J.S. Bach, Telemann was not predestined through his heritage and social position of his forebears to be a musician, a calling for which he personally thought himself to be predetermined by God and Nature, and which he chose even against the continued opposition of his family and relatives.") >
What an extraordinary achievement!

When I win the lottery, the first thing I will do is to buy a lot of Telemann!

Tom Hens wrote (January 17, 2006):
< BWV 160 "Ich weiß, dass mein Erlöser lebt" TVWV 1:877 >
The BWV gives TWV 1:875. Either you or they made a typo.

< BWV 1088 -This is a part of a cantata for Holy Week entitled "Wer ist der, so von Edom kömmt" copied by Johann Christoph Altnickol. CPE Bach wrote on the title page "Passion | von | Graun" [Carl Heinrich Graun] >
Can I conclude from this that it has been established that most of that work is by Graun? The BWV is a bit unclear on this: with BWV 127/1 it refers to it as "nach C.H. Graun", but it doesn't mention any authorship in the entry for BWV 1088.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 17, 2006):
John Pike wrote:
< I agree. I suspect that there is a lot of very fine music out there that is not as well known as it deserves to be because some of it has not yet received ideal performance. >
One of the problems we face is that the canon of "Great Music" has been effectively closed and many popular artists do not stray far from very a narrow repertoire -- even early music types. We've been talking about the neglect of Telemann. I'd like to add Zelenka whose choral works are quite simply superb. Kudos to Tafelmusik in Toronto which regularly programmes his music.

If you haven;t seen their documentary "Mozart Noir" on the 18th century black composer, St. Georges, try to get a hold of it. It left me astonished that we do not know his music at all. I'm a firm believer that we do Bach and Mozart a disservice when we celebrate every nuance as uniquely inspired rather than brilliantly conventional.

Anthony Olszowy wrote (January 17, 2006):
John Pike wrote:
< What an extraordinary achievement!
When I win the lottery, the first thing I will do is to buy a lot of
Telemann! >
I've been pecking away at the catalogue offerings available for Telemann for a couple of decades now (both CD and good ol' vinyl), and it has always amazed me that I've never been really able to find a comprehensive, methodical collection of his work in any genre. Of course, the size of his body of work mitigates against this, but the Brilliant Classics trumpet concerti were the fist such collection that I can recall. The Opus 111 attempt to record the Turin Vivaldi collection is a nice attempt at the kind of project I'm thinking of. I have about 40-50 Telemann CD's, with far more duplication than I'd like of his "hits" . Anyone aware of this type of project?

John Pike wrote (January 17, 2006):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
Some movements in Passion Pasticcio BWV 1088 were composed by GPT (J.S. Bach only one arioso).
See:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Telemann-Georg-Philipp.htm >
Some time ago I tried to get hold of a recording of the Passion Pasticcio on Capriccio, but it was no longer available. are there any other recordings of this work still available?

Anne (Nessie) Russell wrote (February 17, 2006):
Neglect of certain composers (was: Telemann's prodigious cantata output)

Douglas Cowling wrote:
< One of the problems we face is that the canon of "Great Music" has been effectively closed and many popular artists do not stray far from very a narrow repertoire -- even early music types. >
I'd like to add to this topic.

Much of the fault is due to teachers who teach in the Conservatory systems. I know this because I am one of them.

Most people begin keyboard studies on the piano. The repertoire is so vast that the so called "Minor Composers" are neglected. The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto certainly has selections from these composers in it's syllabus and in it's repertoire books, but they like for students to play the so called "Major Composers" for examinations. If you want a student to do well on an exam you give them Bach rather than Telemann, Beethoven rather than Mozart, Chopin rather than Scriabin ......

Early in my teaching career I heard an examiner at a workshop say "Only give Mozart sonatas to students who are not good enough to play Beethoven." I have always had the feeling that the same applies to the Early Music section - only give Telemann to students who can't play Bach.

My answer to this has been to the "Minor Composers" to students as extra pieces or on years they are not taking exams. Of course this approach leaves a message about their value.

Most teachers probably don't intend to plant this in kids minds, but I am afraid that we do.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Neglected Composers & Bach [Bach & Other Composers]

Julian Mincham wrote (February 17, 2006):
On Telemann

Like many correspondents I probably don't know enough of his music. What I have heard and played is 'enjoyable' certainly--mostly chamber music----and I agree with one correspondent that he is at least as good, or even more interesting than Vivaldi. For one thing his use of intruments (i.e. orchestration) is constantly surprising and fascinating and sometime more adventurous than Bach..

However I would be interested to know the responses to one question---do people keep returning to theses pieces, year after year, as one does with Bach? Does a wonderful chorus or aria of Telemann maintain it's magic after the 40th re-hearing? I'd really like to know how people feel about this--For me it's not quite the same for Telemann (or Vivaldi) as it is for Bach.

HOWEVER, within this context I have to say that there are works by Händel (e.g. concerto grossi op 6), D. Scarlatti (many of the sonatas) and Rameau (keyboard pieces like 'The Hen' and the Cyclops) which I return to hear, play and enjoy in the same way as I feel about most of Bach's repertoire.

This is not a spurious league table--I just wondered how others felt about it.

Having said this I do want to hear more of the Telemann cantatas after this correspondance.

Joost wrote (February 17, 2006):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< However I would be interested to know the responses to one question---do people keep returning to theses pieces, year after year... >
A few works that fit this description for me:

- Ihr Völker, hört! (flute, voice, bc)
- Paris Quartets 7-12
- Quartet for flute, two viols, bc
- ouverture/suite Hamburger Ebb und Flut

John Pike wrote (February 17, 2006):
[To Julian Mincham] I'm with you on this, Julian. I doubt whether a work by Telemann would continue drawing me back to it obsessively after 40 hearings, but some of what I have heard has moved me very greatly, at least in the short-term.

Anthony Olszowy wrote (February 17, 2006):
[To John Pike] I have been a fan of the work of Telemann for at least a couple of decades now, and, far more so than the work of Bach or Händel, the "re-hearing" quality of his work varies enormously from piece to piece. Some works I have found attractive after many, many hearings (the list of works given by an earlier correspondent today give a number of excellent examples; some of his choral works, particularly psalm settings "Sub Tuum Praesiduum" (?) on Chaconne-I'm working from memory-- have the same quality); some are too "work-a-day" to bear through hearing more than once (I am sure I will have brickbats thrown at me for this one, but one of the many settings of the St. Matthew Passion , recorded by Hanssler several years ago, belongs in this category). I think it's safe to say that "De gustibus..." is always the governing maxim in artistic matters in which there is no broad social consensus.

Thomas Braatz wrote (February 18, 2006):
John Pike wrote:
>>Last year, Brad was saying, I think, that music by Quantz was elevated from the good to excellent simply by using the temperament which he has proposed as being Bach's, and which, if true, Quantz would have known through his intimate connections with CPE Bach at the court of Frederick the Great.<<
Certainly Brad Lehman's assertion as related by John Pike that Quantz's music will be improved by use of a variant (non-equal) temperament must be taken with a huge grain of salt, particularly when some experts who have explored Quantz's major output (305 concertos for flute, strings, and bc. and over 235 sonatas for flute and bc) have concluded that these compositions ".show Quantz's mastery of the 'galant' style" [Edward R. Reilly and Andreas Giger in Grove Music Online, Oxford University Press, 2006, acc. 2/17/06] and "Die Kompositionen von Quantz bewegen sich im »galanten« Stil" ("Quantz's compositions tend to be in the 'galant' style.") With primarily an embellished soprano and a simple bass line, the importance of harmonic filler parts is considerably diminished. This means that hearing the extremely fine distinctions between an equal temperament and one of the numerous variant schemes that did abound in the 1st half of the 18th century becomes less important for the listener and is even more difficult to discern and reproduce by the musical non-keyboard performers.

Suggestion: Providing a performance by dedicated, capable musicians who have a special interest in a certain style of performance will certainly improve the receptivity of Quantz's music and for this a slight variation in a tuning scheme will make little difference in the way his music will be received.

Even much of Telemann's output, with the exception of the earlier works, tends to be more in the 'galant' than in the Baroque style of composition, although Telemann commands a much wider spectrum of change than Quantz does since the bulk of compositions by the latter were restricted by the taste dictated by Frederick the Great, whose aesthetic goals are very clearly represented by the 'galant' style.

The main characteristics of the 'galant' style (often lumped together with Rococo in music and Pre-Classicism) are:

[These stylistic traits do not always appear together in the same composition. Most important composers who lived through this period show various degrees of acceptance of these compositional and performance principles, usually distancing themselves from the Baroque style while accepting some aspects of 'galant' style which precedes the style of Classicism in music (Classicism represented by Haydn, Mozart, etc.). The bulk of Quantz's output is in the 'galant' style, and this may also be the case with Telemann's output (which continued until 1767) as well. We will not
know, for certain, just how to characterize stylistically most of Telemann's compositions until most of his sacred and secular vocal compositions are printed and performed/recorded.]

The 'galant' style:

1. thin, simple textures (miniaturistic)

2. not subject to rules other than those of 'le bon goût'; not bound by the contrapuntal fetters that 'enslaved' composers like J. S. Bach - this as viewed from the standpoint of a 'galant'-style supporter

3. short melodic motifs

4. voices/parts between the top, treble and the bass line lose individuality and become merely part of the block harmony (filler parts)

5. formula-based cadences, tendency towards 'murky' basses

6. excessive decoration/embellishments with many small figures and passages, suited more for an intimate chamber rather than a larger performing space.

7. greater flexibility in rhythm (rubato) and dynamics (use of 'messa di voce')

8. ease and gracefulness can become emptiness and artificiality

9. lightly accompanied

10. a more theatrical/operatic rather than in a strict or a church style

11. written/composed for amateurs ".his [Mattheson's] dedication of this work to a noble lady indicates, much of the galant literature, like much galant music, was intended to instruct and entertain female amateurs." Daniel Heartz and Bruce Alan Brown in Grove Music Online, Oxford University Press, 2006, acc. 2/17/06

Read Scheibe's criticism of the music of J. S. Bach to obtain a sense of the change of direction which was taking place between the late Baroque style and that of the pre-classical, rococo style called 'galant'. Scheibe, as a supporter of the 'galant' style, takes on the likes of J. S. Bach in order to score some points in favor of a style currently in vogue. In reality the roots of the 'galant' style can be traced back to the 17th century, but the true battle between the old and new takes place primarily during Bach's lifetime with Bach even incorporating into his style of composition 'Galanterien', the style found in the additional dances Bach supplied toward the end of his suites (instrumental and keyboard). Occasionally, there are moments (mvts.) in some of his cantatas which begin to approach the 'galant' style, but the impression that the listener is left with is that Bach is simply trying to prove that he can write in this style if he has to, but that his heart really was not in it and that he preferred music which was more profound, more universal in nature.

Julian Mincham wrote (February 18, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< The 'galant' style:
1. thin, simple textures (miniaturistic)
2. not subject to rules other than those of 'le bon goût'; not bound by the contrapuntal fetters that 'enslaved' composers like J. S. Bach - this as viewed from the standpoint of a 'galant'-style supporter
3. short melodic motifs
4. voices/parts between the top, treble and the bass line lose individuality and become merely part of the block harmony (filler parts)
5. formula-based cadences, tendency towards 'murky' basses
6. excessive decoration/embellishments with many small figures and passages, suited more for an intimate chamber rather than a larger performing space.
7. greater flexibility in rhythm (rubato) and dynamics (use of 'messa di voce')
8. ease and gracefulness can become emptiness and artificiality
9. lightly accompanied
10. a more theatrical/operatic rather than in a strict or a church style
11. written/composed for amateurs ".his [
Mattheson's] dedication of this work to a noble lady indicates, much of the galant literature, like much galant music, was intended to instruct and entertain female amateurs." Daniel Heartz and Bruce Alan Brown in Grove Music Online, Oxford University Press, 2006, acc. 2/17/06 >
And I would add to the list above a preponderance of chords 1 and V i.e. tonic and dominant harmony.

Eric Bergerud wrote (February 18, 2006):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< One of the problems we face is that the canon of "Great Music" has been effectively closed and many popular artists do not stray far from very a narrow repertoire -- even early music types. We've been talking about the neglect of Telemann. I'd like to add Zelenka whose choral works are quite simply superb. Kudos to Tafelmusik in Toronto which regularly programmes his music.
If you haven't seen their documentary "Mozart Noir" on the 18th century black composer, St. Georges, try to get a hold of it. It left me astonished that we do not know his music at all. I'm a firm believer that we do Bach and Mozart a disservice when we celebrate every nuance as uniquely inspired rather than brilliantly conventional. >
I have mixed feelings about Doug's post. If consumers wish there are a recordings available of works by several hundred composers readily available at places like Amazon and Archiv. (I think the Amazon bashers are wrong about SDG: they're just the world's best mail order service. They don't make recordings. My guess is that on the bottom line SDG is quite glad they're around.) Having subscribed to the Naxos radio, I've been really struck by how many recordings are available from composers that are far from household names. During their recent sale I got CDs by Salazar, Samartini, Hoffmann and Schenck: all delightful. (Not to mention some really nice Liszt and Dvorak piano and chamber works.) So why don't people buy more of them?

Probably because they aren't played live very often, at least in North America. I don't want to get tiresome about complaining about the period music scene in the Bay Area, but it is not robust and this is supposed to be one of it's places of birth in the US. The concerts I have attended in the past few years by the American Bach Soloists and Philarmonia Baroque in Berkeley have had, at best, fair sized audiences. Heavens, Weimar cantatas and they can't fill a church. And, as recently noted, Les Violons Du Roy and Magdalena Kozena drew so poorly at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall that they didn't open the balcony. (When Cecilia Bartoli came to town a few months back, I doubt Schwarzenegger could have got a ticket. Yours truly sure couldn't.)

There are still a lot of people going to the San Francisco symphony though. But here's the rub. When the SFO gets aggressive on it's program, it goes for little known or new contemporary works. They do very little baroque. On my liner notes for Bernstein's SMP it states that Lenny loved Bach and resented the fact that the period groups had made such great inroads into the field that the big symphonies had bowed out. And this complaint was made around 1970. Maybe he was right.

I realize that this observation is hardly new, but it does strike me that the choreography of a classical music concert is a little silly. Considering the fact that tails went out of most people's world before Pearl Harbor, most players are, in essence, performing in costume. (Why not wear wigs?) And the walking on, walking off, standing up, sitting down: someone new to the genre isn't going to know when to clap. I'm not saying that musicians should get tattoos and pierce body parts, but it's going to be a real leap for a young concert goer going from Bob Dylan, much less Arrowsmith, to Bach.

I'm not ready to jump from a bridge yet. The music is too beautiful to die out. And recordings continue to be made, although perhaps Gardiner is right that the traditional methods of distribution are growing obsolete. And judging from the number of wonderful musicians coming from East Asia, it may be that Western classical music is developing a genuinely world wide appeal. And in a music world lacking in stars, Cecilia Bartoli can still sell a ton of CDs based on very obscure works. Andrea Bocelli has the #1 CD in the US at present - "pop" maybe, but not Guns and Roses. But the engine is not firing on all cylinders and I don't know why.

Eric Bergerud wrote (February 18, 2006):
[To Anthony Olszoy] You are right. Brilliant put out a really nice budget complete Tafelmusik last year but that's only 4CDs. Be nice to have a Telemann project.

Richard wrote (February 18, 2006):
I think that the most interesting part of TELEMANN's output is the last one, works written between 1750 and 1767, very "modern", using a light pre-classic style which I am fond of. I have listened to "Der Tag des Gerichts" or "Die Tageszeiten" and other works very frequently for 30 years. I enjoy them with Bach or Händel same type of works.

Thomas Braatz wrote (February 19, 2006):
BWV Verzeichnis: Telemann/Graun references

Tom Hens wrote:
>>> BWV 160 "Ich weiß, dass mein Erlöser lebt" TVWV 1:877<<<
Tom Hens: >The BWV gives TWV 1:875. Either you or they made a typo.<
The BWV Verzeichnis is in error here. The NBA KB III/3 published 2000 gives TVWV 1:877 in the text and in the index.

BTW, the Graun cantata "Du König der Ehren" is now given officially as GSV 10.

>>>BWV 1088 -This is a part of a cantata for Holy Week entitled "Wer ist der, so von Edom kömmt" copied by Johann Christoph Altnickol. CPE Bach wrote on the
title page "Passion | von |
Graun" [Carl Heinrich Graun]<<<
Tom Hens: >Can I conclude from this that it has been established that most of that work is by Graun? The BWV is a bit unclear on this: with BWV 127/1 it refers to it as "nach C.H. Graun", but it doesn't mention any authorship in the entry for BWV 1088.<
Yes, all the other mvts. with the exclusion of these 3 are by Graun.

The current theory (NBA) is that Altnickol took these 3 mvts., BWV 127/1 (variant not based directly upon BWV 127/1, BWV 1088 and "Der Gerechte kommt um" BWV deest) from a Passion by Bach no longer extant and patched them into a Passion by Graun for a Passion performance in 1755 in Naumburg by Altnickol. It is uncertain whether Bach himself ever performed this (patched-up version of the) Passion based primarily upon Graun's Cantata for Holy Week "Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld". It might simply be the case that Altnickol, in 1755, lifted these few mvts. from a lost Passion by Bach and inserted them into Graun's composition. It is conjectured that these mvts. may have been part of Bach's last Passion (no longer
extant) which would put the date of such a performance by Bach after 1733, if there ever was such a performance.

Tim Patrick Clow wrote (February 27, 2007):
Anthony Olszowy wrote:
< I've been pecking away at the catalogue offerings available for Telemann for a couple of decades now (both CD and good ol' vinyl), and it has always amazed me that I've never been really able to find a comprehensive, methodical collection of his work in any genre. Of course, the size of his body of work mitigates against this, but the Brilliant Classics trumpet concerti were the fist such collection that I can recall. Anyone aware of this type of project? >
I hope I'm not duplicating a previous answer, but yes, Brillant Classic's has issued the first vol of a Telemann Complete Ouverture project, 4 CDS, and it cost about 15.00 USD at the Virgin Records Superstore at Time's Square. It's an early music ensemble performing, and I don't know much more than this.

I'm curious how long this project will take, because there are many Telemann suites that are still not in modern performing editions nor published.

I hope this helps you!

Tim Patrick Clow wrote (February 27, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I've never understood the reason for what I call the Telemann Failure Syndrome. Why is it that even after 50 years of dedicated promotion by the early music community, not a single work by Telemann has entered the popular imagination? His music was lionized by his contemporaries and there are dozens of beautiful works in his oeuvre. But the Vivaldi revival started at the same time, and today you can't turn on the television without
hearing him in commercials. >
Let me lay my cards on the table at the start, I don't believe there has been any such Telemann failure at all. I'm also not sure the logic is valid: I don't think Monteverdi's music is exactly in the popular imagination, but I wouldn't call it a "failure." If you flip the logic around, by 18th century standards, Bach was the "failure,"
but no one believes that for a moment. Some of the best music doesn't always mean popular; and if anything, Telemann's life can show how fickle popularity can can be.

I think there is a bit of a difference too with the Vivaldi example and Telemann, most of Vivaldi's music manuscripts were in one location, Turin Itay with the benefit of having single sources as well. The revival of his Gloria in the late 1930s had an electrifying effect on jump starting a complete edition of his music, which in turn lead to performances.

Telemann's music really wasn't published until the mid 1950s with Barenreiter's attempt to do a 50 vol. series, which was to finish production within a few years. It looks like that project is going to be extended by the way--to coincide with the 250th anniversary of his death. Telemann's manuscripts are spread over many cites, mostly in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin, with different agendas by the libraries that hold the manuscripts, and the musicologists that are working on the materials.

I personally believe the major reason Telemann's cantatas aren't performed more is simply due to the lack of a complete edition. Bach's music had the benefit of two complete editions, one started within about 25 years of his rediscovery. Telemann hasn't been so lucky.

You also mentioned that Telemann's music isn't performed in concerts. Not true. A simple search on concerts and performances of Telemann's pieces show otherwise. Here in New York City, I attended a concert where both Bach and Telemann's music were performed together. Telemann's sacred music is also making some inroads to being performed in churches as well. Again, the lack of modern performing editions is a factor in the slowness of this.

Recordings of Telemann's music seem to be great sellers. The A/R director at Naxos told me that years ago; as a result they were scrambling to record more of his music.

So I'm not sure the Telemann "failure" really exists.

Of course Bach and Handel and Christoph Graupner never failed to appreciate Telemann's ability as a composer. They had different approaches, but Bach thought highly enough of Telemann to copy and or perform his music. Bach even used one of Telemann's themes in a double concerto. Handel quoted Telemann in several of his pieces as well. Christoph Graupner copies many of Telemann's pieces and performed them in Darmstadt Germany. Many of these copies are single sources as well.

I know some would like to paint an artificially competitive picture between these men, but the historical record shows they only had the highest respect for each other.

I have heard there could be an attempt to have a complete edition of the Telemann cantatas within ten years, but this is so far only talk. Such a project would require a large undertaking obviously.

Thanks,

Alain Bruguieres wrote (February 27, 2007):
< I know some would like to paint an artificially competitive picture between these men, but the historical record shows they only had the highest respect for each other. >
We have evidence showing that Bach had the highest respect for other great composers, in particular for Telemann and Haendel, but do we have evidence that the converse was true?

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 27, 2007):
< We have evidence showing that Bach had the highest respect for other great composers, in particular for Telemann and Haendel, but do we have evidence that the converse was true? >
Telemann consented to be godfather for some of JSB's children....

Tim Patrick Clow wrote (February 27, 2007):
Alain Bruguières wrote:
< We have evidence showing that Bach had the highest respect for other great composers, in particular for Telemann and Haendel, but do we have evidence that the converse was true? >
Yes, when Christoph Graupner wasn't able to accept the position in Leipzig, he wrote to the city fathers that Bach would be an excellent person for the job. The letter was very gracious in its tone.

 

Continue on Part 2

Georg Philipp Telemann: Short Biography | G.P. Telemann - Use of Chorale Melodies in his works | G.P. Telemann - His Autobiography (Hamburg, 1740) | Georg Philipp Telemann & Bach - Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Cantata BWV 141 | Cantata BWV 160 | Cantata BWV 218 | Cantata BWV 219 | Passions-Pasticcio BWV 1088 | Motet Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt, BWV Anh 160 | Cantata Hier ist mein Herz, geliebter Jesu, TWV 1:795 | Cantata Ich freue mich im Herren, TWV 1:826 | Cantata Machet die Tore weit (I), TWV 1:074 | Cantata Der Herr ist König, TWV 8:6 | Brockes Passion, TWV 5:1 | Passions-Oratorium Seliges Erwägen, TWV 5:2 | Music

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