He once again eschewed all sentimentality in the opening movement, preferring instead to cast it as a siciliano whose gently rocking rhythms give rise to an idyllic atmosphere. The Allegro promises more undisturbed serenity. With its witty and playful themes, the oboe is clearly set in relief against the more massive sound block of the orchestra.
The oboe's independence is also underscored by the syncopations and the multiform rhythms which are constantly changing. The third movement steps forward with the majestic grace of a noble sarabande. Just as in its counterpart the Oboe Concerto No. The solo instrument adopts a much more capricious mood in the c1osingVivace. A merry head motif, driving syncopations and surging, sequencing chains of sixteenth notes ignite a rousing fireworks and crown the four-movement celebration of musical enjoyment, since, after all, "change is always pleasant". Telemann, from Selbstbiographie, written in Hamburg in and cited by his friend Johann Mattheson in Grundlage einer Ehrenpforte in In this new recording Il Rossignolo performs a selection of particularly virtuoso and brilliant instrumental compositions by Georg Philipp Telemann Magdeburg, — Hamburg, The nature of these works demonstrate how Telemann, possibly due to his atypical musical education as an autodidact, distances himself from a purely contrapuntal, speculative and aristocratic technique and immerses himself in a compositional approach characterised by affetti and, one could even say, by effects.
Indeed, his music incorporates all the contemporary styles as theorised and demonstrated by J. In the musical interplay of thesis and antithesis between French and Italian styles, it can be said that Telemann elaborated his own German mixed style, imbuing it with anything that could provide further enrichment and transformation. The concerto is characterised by a succession of surprising affetti and concludes with a veritable folk allegro; to quote Telemann: When the court moved to Plesse for six months … I became acquainted with … Polish and Moravian music in all of its barbaric beauty.
It was played in certain hostelries … One can hardly conceive what extraordinary fantasies the musicians invent when they are improvising … Anyone who paid very close attention might in a week obtain a store of ideas to last a lifetime. In short, there is a great deal that is good in this music … I later composed various concertos and trios in this style, to which I then gave an Italian dress, making Adagios alternate with Allegros … from G.
It is a sort of compendium of his instrumental music with 12 alternating solos and trios. The sonatas are written for six. The sonata Solo No. A larghetto or sicilienne in the melancholic key of F minor follows, with a final high-spirited vivace abundant in leaps. The transverse flute is featured in the following piece, Solo No. This masterpiece, printed in Hamburg in engraved on pewter slates — a recent printing innovation from England — by Telemann himself and consisting of three collections with the same sequence of movements overture, quartet, concerto, trio, solo and conclusion , is a remarkable study of how timbres of the most diverse instruments can be combined to achieve a perfect alchemy of affetti.
Had he not, but a few years before, delighted all of Europe, France most certainly included, with his gallant, witty, and up-to-date Musique de table? Had not these very, oh-so-fashionable, qualities ensured that the new edition of his Quadri for flute, violin, viola da gamba and basso continuo originally published in Hamburg in and now beautifully re-issued as Six quatuors by the Parisian printer Le Clerc met with an unqualified success?
And were not humour, charm, intelligence and feeling, those supreme characteristics of a galant homme, equally present in his person and in his music? Bach grew older, he became increasingly obsessed, holed up in Leipzig as he was, with the abstraction of sunlight from contrapuntal cucumbers, but Telemann, armed with his soave and witty style, stayed not merely stylistically up-to-date, but showed a younger generation the way forward, conquering a foreign land and setting the chicest snobs in all of Europe, the French, a-dancing to his own pert pipe.
The subscription list for the Nouveaux Quatuors contains names including that of a certain Mr. Bach de Leipzig , 31 more than the earlier Musique de table. Telemann was now competing with himself, under pressure to top his own admirable chamber style, and to surpass his own recent excellence in a form of which he was the acknowledged master. In short, the Nouveau Quatuors were expected to be the most important and influential German chamber works of the decade: and, indeed, they were.
To the superior qualities of the Quadri are added the elegant beauties, the breadth and variety of the Nouveaux Quatours. Learned pieces, delicate soundscapes and earthy folk music are brought together within the larger forms of suites, sonatas and concerti.
Telemann ensures that each instrumentalist is given ample opportunity to shine, while, for the sake of variety, complex conversations galantes, touching airs and virtuosic tours de force follow one another in rapid succession. The extremes of style these works embrace can perhaps best be illustrated by comparing the final two quartets, those in A major and E minor, from the Paris book: the former shows Telemann at his most fashionable, the latter at his most grand. The A major is light-hearted throughout.
Erwürgtes Lamm! das die verwahrten Siegen Sheet Music by Unknown Writer
It aims to delight the Rococo ear through sly wit, simplicity and an eloquent, elegant lightness. It is a jubilant work in which intermittent shade but serves to throw the prevailing brightness into higher relief. In the 18th century this was not yet a cause for censure. And as to sounds, especially the sounds emanating from these discs, a few words on the performance of the works presented here may serve to clarify some of the stylistic principles used in preparing this recording; for, though we generally speak that currently accepted early-music language which was developed in the course of the 20thcentury in order to make this exquisite repertoire palatable to contemporary ears, we do so with a personal accent perhaps not readily understood by all Early Music devotees.
By briefly discussing the cornerstones of our style, we hope to prevent any purely performative choices from obscuring our larger aesthetic intentions.
First to be mentioned must be the tempi we have chosen, which often exceed those of our contemporaries. The application of such evidence to these quartets, resulting in virtuosic labours worthy of the Herculean reputations of the original performers, set us quite a challenge. Such speedy tempi, however, would soon irritate the heart and weary the ear if maintained with post- Stravinskian rigidity.
We therefore have approached these pieces with a pre-modernist freedom, inspired by the many references in the French sources to the expressive use of fluctuations in tempo in order to move the passions of the audience. Consequentially, his enchanting music should neither plod nor thump, but rather flit and flutter freely with each vibrant passion it embodies. Our rushings and stretchings, however, have not been applied whimsically.
Following Rameau, we have chosen to allow the richness of the harmony to dictate many of these rubati to use the dirty word. Expressive chords, according to the French master, need time to penetrate the human heart, and must be prolonged beyond their notated values if they are to have their intended effect. And this structural, expressive use of harmony leads us to a final potentially puzzling element of our performance style: the realization of the basso continuo. When played at a speed consistent with contemporary tempo sources, however, and with a basso continuo realization in keeping with the style of the time, it becomes quite a different piece, one more grand than tender, more proud than poetic.
And perhaps the essential instruction that we have taken to heart in preparing this recording has been that of trusting, though everquestioning, our own artistic fantasy. We have not attempted to follow the composer slavishly on foot, but rather to rise towards him, treatises in hand, while mounted on the back of winged Pegasus. This stringed instrument, with its discrete, mid-range, and nasal timbre, accompanied him his entire life. In countless chamber music works he used the gamba as a solo instrument, he composed solo concertos and solo suites for it, in his sacred cantatas and Passion oratorios he was unable to do without it, and even in his old age he prescribed its use in his late vocal works.
Probably one or another of these virtuosos had requested compositions from Telemann, as so often happened with court musicians, cantors, and dilletantes - a request that he always gladly accepted. Another way the composer reached the public with his compositions was by engraving, printing and distributing them himself. Over forty printed works, often extensive collections with many multi-movement compositions, appeared in this fashion.
They contributed in no small way to his fame among his contemporaries. It should serve to encourage the beginner while taking into consideration the highly variable performing circumstances in choirs and orchestras, at the same time taking cognizance of the most diverse genres and musical styles. The compositions assembled together here are taken from three such printed collections. For the second instrumental part the composer has allowed a performance by violin or keyboard, in which case the gamba is only a continuo instrument. The E-minor sonata and the fantasy were also published by he composer.
Erwürgtes Lamm! das die verwahrten Siegel, BWV 455 (Bach, Johann Sebastian)
In the sonata the composer combines the form of the four-movement sonata, which has been successfully used for decades with new, galant, stylistic elements. It is in a more serious style and reveals all of the timbral possibilities of the gamba. It matches the high register against the low, and demands an exacting double-stop and chord technique. Telemann enriched the literature for solo instrument without basso continuo many times with exceptionally superior compositions.
In both the sonata and the fantasy a recitative with ensuing arioso stand out against a background of virtuoso or pleasant movements, in which serious, lamenting tones are sounded in imitation of the vocal genre. The last work, the C-minor trio sonata, Telemann did not publish himself. It has been transmitted in a copy owned by his friend, Christoph Graupner. The tender, homophonic aria is in a rocking six-eight meter, in the gigue the viola da gamba plays with running eighth-note patterns around the dotted rhythms.
Not only was he recognised for his remarkable qualities as a composer, but his scholarship and prodigious energy, expressed through the outlets of composer, musician, publisher, impresario and more, led him to play a starring role in 18th-century German music and to attain a power within that world which few people, before or after him, would wield. Born to a traditional Lutheran family, who forced him to study law, Telemann revealed his musical talent and creative powers from an early age. Before reaching the age of 12, he had already written several instrumental and vocal works as well as an opera, Sigismund, which was a great success.
He quickly absorbed the fashionable French and Italian styles, which were then in vogue at the surrounding German courts, and began concert organisation and managerial activities. A few years later, as concertmaster in Eisenach —12 , he organised such a busy schedule of sacred cantata performances for the court orchestra that it soon became one of the most appreciated ensembles in Europe.
In Frankfurt —21 , in addition to occupying the post of Kapellmeister, he established a thriving artistic activity in the city through his hard and assiduous work with musical societies and private associations. Finally, it. Telemann was undoubtedly one of the most active composers of his time, and the amount of music he was expected to compose every week was exceptionally high.
His remarkable versatility allowed him to alternate very easily between sacred for the church celebrations and secular repertoire, and throughout his extensive career he experimented with all the musical genres of his time oratorios, Passions, operas, cantatas, concertos and orchestral suites, as well as chamber music for all sorts of musical ensembles , embracing all the different styles and models, whether already existing or new. His instrumental works alone include orchestral suites, solo concertos, approximately 40 quartets, trios, 87 works for solo instruments, 80 works for miscellaneous chamber ensembles without continuo, and a total of works for keyboard.
Telemann himself wrote, in one of his autobiographies, that never a day had gone by without his composing at least one simple musical fragment. Telemann certainly showed a great deal of dedication in promoting himself, and was a pioneer in the field of musical publishing at a time when the musical market was still in its early stages, as his works met with considerable success. Between and , he took advantage of the self-financing system through private subscriptions and managed to publish 43 sets of compositions — an astounding number since, at the time, the circulation of manuscript copies of music was still widespread.
The documented subscriptions came not only from Germany but from all over Europe, thus showing unambiguous evidence of the international renown Telemann enjoyed. For his Tafelmusik alone, in , Telemann received no fewer than subscriptions, 56 of which came from abroad. His most durable success was the Gebrauchmusik, a set of entertainment music written in a smooth yet refined singing style, characterised by a clear melodic line and an elementary harmonic structure, which appealed to less learned listeners and amateur musicians.
The introductory letter, curiously written in Italian, also gives some food for thought on the nature of these compositions. As had been the case for Tafelmusik , perhaps as a means emphasising the character and purpose of the music, Telemann favours the suite form over the four-movement Corellian sonata da chiesa form Adagio — Allegro — Adagio — Allegro , which was common in instrumental music at the time. This allowed him to compose with much more freedom of expression, to introduce less clearly defined musical forms and to use elements from folk music. Every suite opens with a quick introduction, in duple or triple metre, followed by six elegant and refined dance movements, each of which is characterised by well-defined melodies and regular rhythms.
As in the whole of his instrumental output, virtuoso passages, large melodic leaps and difficulties of articulation are absent from the Scherzi, in which the emphasis is put rather on dense dialogue between a vivid upper melodic line and the other instruments. Nowadays we can only imagine the beneficial effects this wonderful music must have had on those guests at Bad Pyrmont who were lucky enough to listen to it during the spring of It is entirely possible that the twelve Fantasias recorded here were never intended for performance on the flute; indeed, these pieces might not even be by Telemann.
The title page of the only surviving copy, found in the Brussels Conservatory Library, labels them Fantasie per il Violino, senza Basso, with Telemann pencilled in by a later hand. Scholars, looking at internal and external evidence, have declared them to be for flute and by the Hamburg master, and it is in no way my intention to disprove this altogether acceptable attribution. I simply mean to point out that much of what we think we know about Baroque music and its performance is nothing more than educated conjecture.
There is nothing wrong with this; we must engage with texts from the past in some way if we wish to rouse them from their obscure slumbers on library shelves, and surely conjectural sounds are preferable to an eternal silence. The problem lies not in using musicologically sharpened intuition to inject artistic life into inkblots on crumbling paper, but in the propensity for performers and listeners to forget that we are doing so.
Ask a flutist to tell you about the Telemann Fantasias, pieces played all over the world on both modern and early flutes, and few will tell you that they might be violin pieces by an anonymous composer. Ask flutists to describe Baroque flutes and their repertoire and many will speak to you of soft and delicate anti-virtuosity; of sighs and whispers, of amorous nightingales and playtime shepherdesses in corsets and powdered wigs.
Of course, there is evidence from whence such conjectures spring: but there is evidence to the contrary as well. In the 18th century, the sound of the flute was described as manly and piercing, performances were compared to storms and lightning bolts, and virtuosity was prized as entertaining, astounding, thrilling. And thus, until the day dawns when a digital recording of Blavet, Quantz, Buffardin or any other 18th-century flute virtuoso comes to light, contemporary devotees of early flutes will justifiably so! My own starting point for this recording has been two-fold: first, that the Fantasias are miniature suites containing movements of various types contrapuntal pieces, free preludes and dances ; and secondly, that each movement has its own highly charged and clearly differentiated affect.
I have not attempted to play each piece as prettily, as daintily as I can, nor have I aimed to avoid an airy sound by reducing my dynamic range. This means. Telemann could write like a Frenchman when he chose: in these pieces he speaks with a German tongue. Why this detailed apology? Because I here present my interpretation of pieces so well-known that most flutists could play them backwards while balancing a piccolo on their nose.
I simply play them as I believe I ought to play them. To those who find the results wilful or freakish I wish to emphasize that we must all follow our own inner artistic light. But beware, Oh Beware! Look to your own feet! For the Devil often comes to the artist at night, radiant as an angel, disguised as Apollo himself. Bach has a place in a tradition which probably began with Thomas Baltzar ca. The twelve were published in and probably composed just before.
Unfortunately the last group went lost. The sonatas serve both artistic and didactic goals. They are a catalogue of all the gestures, at that time expected to be possible on the violin. The frequent repetitions of musical figures suggest an etude-like intention, while the many changes in sound and rhythm are proof of the artistic quality. The twelve are each about bars long and the challenge for every musician is to find a balance between the continuity, often through rhythm, and the difference between the details, mainly through sound and gesture. The melody is just as much melody as built on a clear harmonic scheme for each phrase, episode and entire fantasia.
These pieces are perfect examples of tonal writing which each episode in an undisputable key. Telemann, unlike Bach, is much more careful with fugues. If counterpoint is present, then within the construction of a single line, a technique often used by baroque composers. Telemann likes to play with the registers high, medium, low, and with different rhythms within one episode. Unlike Bach, Telemann is much more inclined towards melody, while Bach seems to be more interested in jumps and complex changes which indicates a greater emphasis on counterpoint and an instrumental way of building musical lines.
This allowed the composers to present a variety of forms and Telemann like many others took the occasion. The opening of the fantasia can be both slow and fast. If it is slow, the melody sounds like an instrumental recitative, with all the sudden changes in rhythm and harmony typical for that genre.
The second section is usually the longest and in a fast tempo. And if he does, the second and sometimes also third voice are given in snapshots, not in complete, equal voices. Polyphony here is mainly for the listener to. Most fantasias have three movements a few have four and the final section can be both fast and slow. The title fantasia implies several things. Telemann had no predetermined form in mind when he composed these works.
The structures usually grow out of motives that are repeated, exploited by association or put aside in favour of new material. Unlike the classical period there was before not yet a model of this kind composers could apply. Several sections bear traces of dances, such as the gavotte, courante, allemande and polonaise. The first section of Sonata No. An observer could gather enough ideas from them in eight days to last a lifetime.
These passages are stylized dances, not dances. The same uncertainty exists about dynamics. In many places Telemann indicates piano or forte, but in just as many places any instruction is absent. Perhaps this was true for Telemann and his contemporaries, but for posterity the similarities were more striking. Telemann was a composer mainly writing for the new and rising class the bourgeoisie. This class liked to play rather intimate music, playable for the advanced amateur or even more skilled , often without a spectacular theatrical character and basically at home the concert and the concert hall were still a rather new phenomenon.
This origin and destination had great consequences for the music. The style is highly melodic, harmonically not very complicated and rhythmically rather predictable. Eventually, after , this new style culminated in the classical style of Haydn and Mozart. Telemann, according to the history books , is a baroque composer, but in fact most of his chamber music, and to a great extent all these twelve fantasias, hint at the later style. The phrasing is often very regular, the harmonic patterns often have the simplicity of folk-music and the hierarchy between melody and harmony is never in doubt.
Even when the music seems more written for the musician than for the listener, these almost classical features are obvious. In this style Galanterien would be slightly more in place than fugues. No wonder Telemann, a contemporary of Bach, was during his life much more popular than Bach. His music suffered particular neglect in the 19th century, when apparently a Viennese revival of his Der Tod Jesu was the last performance of any major Telemann work until the following century.
In his own lifetime he was much more highly esteemed than Bach, whom he knew closely. As Arthur Hutchings wisely wrote as long ago as : To set up Telemann as profound somebody will, sooner or later, for he often composed in the minor mode and used chromatic chords is not more stupid than to depict him as among the most shallow contemporaries of the two giants of the 18th century, for the giants were better judges than we are.
Wherever Telemann went he held successive positions at Leipzig, Sorau, Eisenach, Frankfurt, Dresden and Hamburg he vigorously influenced musical life, either by establishing performing ensembles or by printing and distributing his works. When he published his Musique de table in , more than 50 personal subscriptions came from abroad. But while he was uncompromising on artistic matters Bach was not without a lighter side to his temperament.
This lively awareness of popular taste is among the most important characteristics shared by Telemann and Handel. The ever-practical Telemann designed his music for as wide a circulation as possible — among both professional and amateur performers, and both cognoscenti and laymen among his audiences. Johann Mattheson censured Telemann for this, while Christoph Daniel Ebeling deplored not only his colourful word painting but also his enthusiasm for the French style. He was also a great cosmopolitan, assimilating diverse influences as naturally as a bee collects nectar.
This quality is especially evident in the great variety of instrumental combinations he employs in his concertos. Unlike most of his contemporaries, in whose works instruments could often be interchanged without difficulty, Telemann carefully exploits the differences in tone colour and technique. In one Concerto in E minor, the recorder and the flute are beautifully contrasted soloists. The aged Telemann continued to keep up with the latest musical trends.
Nonetheless, the third movement of the second suite has a strikingly earthy middle section in the tonic minor. In the fourth of these pieces, the chromatic character of the opening fugue subject leads to some gentle passing dissonance in the part-writing, and the second movement Allegro again includes a vigorous rustic section, this time in the tonic major. Many of the dance movements in these technically undemanding pieces — written almost entirely in two parts — reveal the influence of Polish music on Telemann.
Indeed, this delightful set of pieces seems generally designed to lift the spirits. These are pairs of preludes on 24 chorale melodies. The first fugue of each pair is for three voices, the second for two voices. It has been estimated that Telemann composed more than suites, though only about a quarter of these have survived. The vast majority are orchestral works, while only about 20 keyboard suites are extant.
As in his instrumental music generally, Telemann displays his fluency in moving between styles — from the world of the court to that of the peasant. Among the suites TWV—18 are two works formerly attributed to J. The music of Telemann, just like that of J. Bach, had to be rediscovered; for this we can be grateful to Romain Rolland, whose essay, first published in , stimulated interest in the life and works of one of the greatest Baroque composers.
In his lifetime he enjoyed a great deal of fame, providing an excellent service to various courts and ecclesiastical institutions before being appointed musical director of the city of Hamburg, possibly the most desirable musical position in the whole of Northern Germany. This added great flights of fancy and an extraordinary sense of ease to his compositions.
There was no musical genre to which he did not turn his hand, but his talents were not limited to writing music: he was a mine of information about performing techniques and musical theory, as demonstrated by the many scholarly prefaces to his printed works, which demonstrate the crucial influence that he had on later stylistic trends through to Classicism. In these, he discussed issues relating to his output, as well as his publishing and composition projects and marketing strategies, while also covering fundamental questions about harmony, the relationship between sounds and words, interpretation and musical aesthetics in general.
Throughout his long and industrious life, Telemann concentrated mainly on vocal music, sacred and secular, but this tendency did not mean that he neglected instrumental music. Both sides of his output are influenced heavily by the different styles that he encountered on his travels and gradually forsake conservatism for innovation, breaking the strict rules of counterpoint and proposing more accessible methods: graceful modulations, incisive melodies, themes better suited to ornamentation and variation than to intellectual counterpoint, and unusual and varied instrumental tones, experimental and carefully researched whether for solo instruments or combinations, creating a laboratory of sounds and ideas.
The 36 Fantasias for harpsichord, printed in —33, are divided into three groups of twelve, the first and third of which are written in an Italian style while the second adopts a French style. The notes unfold seamlessly under the fingers of the performer and, while the pieces are not particularly demanding in technical terms, they are never banal — it would be highly misleading to underestimate the refined architecture and richness of their content. Sensitive performance practice demands that the performer embellish the da capo sections considerably. Jesus is portrayed as a human being who has committed himself to mankind, enabling Telemann to change the Passion into a human drama that could be fitted into an operatic framework.
Each section ends with a choral and is preceded by a recitative and an aria. As in the Passions and cantatas of J. These melodies are set simply, as if Telemann was encouraging the religious community attending the Passion services to participate in the drama.
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Virtuosity is almost always confined to the vocal parts, which present no real challenge to professional performers. Despite the sacred nature of the text, the main performers were well-known opera singers, and it is likely that Telemann wrote some of the parts with these specific singers in mind. During his lifetime it became one of his most popular pieces, with frequent performances in churches and secular buildings, and musicians often took the liberty of adapting the work to their particular preferences or circumstances.
Its decline in popularity after can be attributed to its use of characteristic Baroque instruments like the harpsichord and recorder, which fell out of use during the Classical era — it took the Telemann Renaissance of the 20th century to rediscover this dramatic, fascinating work. It was a time when the art of poetry in Germany was entering a new period brought about by a renewal of German poetic language. The new form of expression, here developing in a field of tension between Enlightenment and Sensitivity in the poems of that circle round Friedrich Gottlob Klopstock and the Bremen Contributors, must have been uncommonly inspiring for the Hamburg music director - already over 70 years old - who occupationally, so to speak, throughout his life sought for good "musical poetry".
It opened up for him a field of musical experimentation that proved fruitful, particularly as regards the concert oratorio. Hamburg's flourishing concert life offered him favourable conditions for this. Since taking up office as music director of the five principal Hamburg churches and Cantor of the Johanneum in , Telemann had also supported musical life outside the church, initially not without opposition from the Hamburg authorities. Besides his activity for opera, he organised public concerts by admittance! In his late vocal works, in which Telemann set libretti by F.
Klopstock, K. Ramler, F. Zachariae and lA. So older forms are encountered like the sequence of recitative, da capo aria and chorus e. Telemann attempted to give each poem - the varying of a Telemann motto may be permitted here the music which "it could endure": each new "musical poetry" consequently stimulated an attempt at an artistically suitable musical realisation. An artistic experiment of this kind was also in the mind of the ever questing Telemann with Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu, particularly as this was a special case, in that a libretto had been written expressly for the composer.
In this way the possibility arose that specific ideas by the giver of the commission could be taken into consideration by the poet. The oratorio was written in Beginning at 5 o'clock. Tickets are available for I Mk. The theological position of the libretto, influenced by the Enlightenment, also indicates that this work was not intended for church service. At this time the Hamburg clergy were still strongly orthodox, though the conflict between orthodoxy and neologist theology was already beginning to smoulder.
Nevertheless it can scarcely be supposed that a text originating in the milieu of the Berlin neologists A. Sack and J. Spalding could have been performed in a main Hamburg church without vigorous previous censorship. It is indeed not known for certain to which theological persuasion the elderly Telemann adhered, but it seems - the choice of libretto for his sacred concert cantatas and oratorios appears to confirm this - that, though thoroughly open-minded, he opposed the new current.
The libretto later also set by C. Bach, J. Agricola, C. Zelter and others, had been written for Telemann by the "most acclaimed oratorio poet of this time" Arnold Schering , the poet and professor at the Berlin Cadet Corps, Karl Wilhelm Ramler He himself, in a letter to the Halberstadt poet Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim, reported that it was a commissioned work: ".. I gave a solemn promise to prepare something for Easter at which an old musician will sing his last.
Herr Telemann, an elderly man of 78, wants to sing his swansong, and for that I am to recite the words". Telemann obviously pursued the intention of concluding the sequence of his settings of sacred librettos by Ramler with a third. Thus the most important subjects of the New Testament gospel - the birth, Passion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ - were brought together in one though stylistically thoroughly heterogeneous musical work of art. Ramler's libretto depicts in seven sections - which as a rule consist of the sequence recitative-aria-chorus - the Biblical story of the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus: 1 the earthquake at the Resurrection and the flight of the Romans; 2 the appearance of the angel to the three Maries at the tomb of Jesus; 3 Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus; 4 the appearance of Jesus before the daughters of Zion; 5 Jesus and the disciples at Emmaus; 6 Jesus and doubting Thomas; 7 the Ascension of Jesus.
The extremely extensive recitatives narrate the course of the action - like the Evangelist's recitative in the Passion oratorios, though in free verse. So as to bring the events specially close to the hearer, Ramler moved them in time to the present; and in this the text differs from that of the Bible, in which the Evangelist always speaks in the past tense. The lyrical kind of description, marked by sentimentality, also contrasts with the rather more sober style of the Luther translation. In Ramler's recitatives, too, dialogues - e. Ramler had already shaped the recitatives in his Passion.
Herder's criticism was directed at this aspect, the non-naming of the characters, when he asked: "Who is speaking, who is singing something in the recitatives? Georg Philipp Telemann must have recognised this problem. For while in his setting of Der Tod Jesu he had still adopted the poet's guidelines, now he distributed the Biblical characters' speech among several voices. In this he was following the old tradition of the oratorio Passion, in which exchanges of speech in the recitatives were a principle.
In composing the recitatives, which indeed are the kind of musical presentation closest to speech, Telemann set great store on natural and, at the same time, clear declamation. In this he also showed a masterly understanding of how to express particular words and turns of phrase - such as outcries and questions - through the melodic line and through harmony.
In the recitatives one also meets the French-type change of metre, typical of Telemann, which was meant to make the natural flow of the speech possible. In the middle section of recitative No. Only once is this "walking figure" replaced by sustained string chords, when Jesus apparently halts and speaks of the Crucifixion. The aria texts, which correspond in their structure to the da capo aria, were mostly also realised by Telemann as five-part da capo arias AA' -B-A-A'.
That Telemann interpreted the poem according to the innate affect and thereby showed a great feeling for musical "variatio" was part of his self-awareness as a composer. For example, in each number he included a different obbligato instrument corresponding to the particular effect of the piece. Thus in the splendid greeting aria No. As a rule the middle section of the arias contrasts with the A section in tempo, key or metre; the obbligato instruments are also silent here.
In this work Telemann designed scarcely any "long-breathed" melodies in the Italian manner. The melodic line of his arias is characterised by text-engendered motives, relatively short but extremely concise. This made possible for the composer a meticulous response to the effect of certain word-groups or the interpretation of single words. Telemann's grandson Georg Michael Telemann called the duet "Vater deiner schwachen Kinder" - and here he was completely following the fashionable taste of the time - "the best in this music". Here Telemann in an exemplary way matched the lyrical, "sentimental" tone of the poem.
Telemann here let himself be inspired by the text in two respects: on the one hand the word "offnet" "open" has a direct relationship with the genre term Overture French for "opening" , on the other it offered its services, through the majestic-character of this music, to correspond to the triumphal entry of the risen Christ "into his kingdom". The texts of the choruses are partly free poems, partly Biblical quotations, mostly derived from the psalter. Freely written are those three terse triumphal choruses, alike in structure, whose function of commentary is reminiscent of the choruses of antique classical tragedy.
In the libretto they are headed "chorale" and were provided by Telemann with a cantional style. The plain melody, like a signal-call, proceeding in triadic steps, however, scarcely seems suitable for a chorale, to our way of thinking. It in fact has, though, a certain similarity to the hymn "Triumph! God has conquered! Lohner, text by J.
The Lord's Anointed is victorious" text by C. Seebach, This "chorale" is heard three times in almost unaltered form; only the strophes of the text are varied. Through the respective addition of instruments - first strings only, then horns, finally three trumpets and. The magnificent choruses on Biblical dicta stand at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the oratorio. Preceding the chorus and forming a unity with it is the introduction in the form of a sarabande, headed "finster" "gloomy" and played by strings in the lowest register.
It symbolises death and the darkness of Hell in which the crucified Christ had had to descend. This is the thematic point of departure of this Resurrection oratorio. The thoroughly aggressively demanding chorus "Tod, wo ist dein Stachel? This chorus is constructed, as very frequently with Telemann and his contemporaries , in the form of a chorale prelude with a choral fugue. Impressive here is the powerful unison of the first part with the joyful theme of the fugue "Unser ist der Sieg" "Ours is the victory".
Also striking in this chorus is the close interweaving of text and theme. The conclusion of the oratorio is formed by a big complex of choruses of psalms of praise. Here Telemann draws on all the resources of his ability as a composer. On dramaturgical grounds he divided the orchestral and vocal parts into two choruses, the first at times appearing alone but then being reunited in the "finale". Psalm texts are frequently interspersed with metaphors that offer opportunities for musical depiction e.
After the question, in homophonic style, "Wer ist, der in den Wolcken gleich dem Herrn gilt? The course of this choral fugue is again and again interrupted by jubilant tutti interjections of "Alles was Odem hat, lobe den Herrn" "All that has breath, praise the Lord".
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First, however, the soloists introduce the fugue subject, then the whole chorus and all the instruments gradually join in. A solemn splendour of sonority, in which all voices unite as a symbol of the rejoicing of both earthly and heavenly creatures at the deed of deliverance, closes the work. One of the striking characteristics of this late work of Telemann's is the dominance of the words, which here impart the message of the victory over death and Hell, and of the salvation of mankind by the Redeemer.
The brief structuring of the most strongly contrasting motives in the arias and also in the choruses the shaping of the subjects in the choral fugues is interesting! Telemann cautiously holds the orchestra back in favour of the vocal content. He declaims the text extremely concisely, indeed almost as a gesture! The influence of France is recognisable; a certain closeness to the precise treatment of the text in Rameau's opera is indicated.
A further characteristic is to be seen in the fusion of old and new, as well as French and Italian, stylistic means. Thus the traditional five-part da capo aria is found as well as the old French overture, whose triumphal progress through Germany Telemann himself had decisively engineered decades previously. Along with this goes an astonishingly modern, sensitive, occasionally almost Classical-seeming shaping of melody and harmony which was not to find its real expression until Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's and Christoph Willibald Gluck's generation of composers.
With his oratorio Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu Telemann left us one of his most interesting, perhaps also best, vocal works. We may agree with Christian Gottfried Krause, already quoted, when he said that Telemann had "in his 80th year demonstrated that he could do anything! And in Chapter 15 of the First Epistle to the Corinthians he says here rendered in a newer translation : "But when the trumpet heralds the judge of the world, we shall all be changed When the trumpet sounds, the dead will be awakened to everlasting life.
In addition he lets the thunder, the wrath of God, rumble darkly and menacingly. The Lord, the Judge, approaches. The Day of Judgment begins. With these signals a gripping musical event starts that opens a rich, symbol-laden world of the most beautiful, inspiring, often individual artistic accomplishments of word and music to anyone who is prepared to come to terms with it. It was perhaps not the top subject of his time that Telemann tackled here, but it was always a great. Many musicians felt this. After taking up his office in Hamburg in , also, Telemann immediately adopted the local practice and organised public concerts at his own risk.
In so doing, he obviously had his finger on the Hamburg public's pulse for decades. At first, admittedly, only works by the organiser were performed, preponderantly vocal compositions that he had written in an official capacity for example, music for municipal festivities and anniversaries , later such as were written for private commissions like wedding serenades, music for funerals and anniversaries and cantatas on the inauguration of preachers.
Also performed were Passion oratorios, Biblical oratorios which, however, have not survived and the annual "Capitains-Musiken". After a quite obvious pause — a creative crisis? With these, Telemann brought a new stimulus and a new direction to Hamburg concert conditions. The group begun in of these works of his old age includes, above all, several sacred oratorios in an absolutely logical sequence - Der Tod Jesu, Die Auferstehung, Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu, Der Tag des Gerichts - as well as the two-part Donner-Ode, a cantata on Psalm models on the occasion of the Lisbon earthquake, and Das befreite Israel, which deals in a concise cantata with the subject of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt.
In all these late works, always wrestling with a compositional design suitable to the subject and the text, Telemann in each case strikes a specific note inherent in the work; he employs his compositional means in a way that develops an unmistakably individual character for the work. Telemann was also able to harness gifted ministers, schoolmasters and even pupils. Of Alers' life it is known that he was born in Hamburg, was Telemann's pupil at the then Johanneum college, a student at the Akademisches Gymnasium in Hamburg and at the University of Helmstedt, a doctor of philosophy and finally a minister in Rellingen, though he died in Utersen; he was an uncommonly skilful librettist.
Telemann also composed his text of the Serenata on the first anniversary of the Honourable Hamburg Trade Deputation: Friedrich Hartmann Graf in and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in and likewise made use of his verse. With great skill and considerable linguistic art — choosing words of few syllables rich in vowels, preferring verbs that carried the action forward, sketching powerful images in terse sentences - he arranges the events in four "reflections".
Allegorical and Biblical figures appear, and choirs of believers, vices, angels and the elect, the blessed and the heavenly host sing. Alers draws on images and formulations, mostly from Revelation, the epistles of Paul and Peter e. In The Day of Judgment Telemann is also the master of colour, of superior use of instruments. Here too trumpets naturally give impressive brilliance: the horns appear graphically as the Last Trump.
The strings are of a versatility and flexibility mostly unfamiliar in Telemann's other works. Thus it becomes clear that The Day of Judgment is not, for instance, only a monument in the history of the German oratorio, but introduces the theological discussions and eschatological thought of that time: as is known, Hamburg was one of those places where this was polarised. That is not all, however. The Day of Judgment -like much major art - is a work that is large in conception, rich in its textual and musical world of ideas and forms, full of symbolism, but perhaps rather naive in relation to its subject - scarcely conventional, but more often bringing the unexpected, created not of doubting seekers for God but of men completely certain of the dignity of their God and his reality in this world.
In contrast to other works of similar content in the history of music, The Day of Judgment has again found its way into musical life. Soon after Telemann's death a critic of the composer, the Hamburg professor Christoph Daniel Ebeling, already pronounced this verdict: "Der Tag des Gerichts to pastor Alers's text is a solemn music, but under the influence of the poetry too greatly overladen with painting'.
A "solemn music" - by which, perhaps, Ebeling emphatically wished to emphasise the work's standing and distinctive nature. In this way he also, then, logically classed it with those works of Telemann which belonged in a select musical library. On 1 November the most severe European earthquake disaster of all time destroyed the great flourishing city of Lisbon. Of its Further devastation was caused by the fires that broke out and by ametre high tidal wave. Destruction also occurred in the Iberian peninsula and in North Africa. The earthquake was felt as far as Central Europe; people in Europe were badly shaken.
God's punishment fell without distinction on the just and the unjust. Immanuel Kant published writings on the event: Voltaire and Rousseau commented on it. Goethe, as is verified in Dichtung und Wahrheit "Poetry and truth" and other works and writings, was moved to meditation. There is a late echo of the terrible event again in Theodor Fontane's Der Stechlin. The city of Hamburg, as can be read in Lessing's Kollektaneen "Miscellanies" , sent two ships with aid supplies to Lisbon. The city council ordered for Thursday 11 March an extraordinary day of penitence, fasting and prayer.
What is so special about the "Harmonious Divine Worship", from which the cantatas played here come, is the small number of people involved. In addition to the vocal part, Telemann only envisages an obligato instrument and figured bass. Using these few voices, he can easily satisfy the need for easy-to-perform church music.
The cantatas also seem especially suitable for private performances of music. Johann Mattheson, himself a composer and musical theorist, highly recommends the cantatas in "Musical Patriots" as excellent music for home use. The style of the cantatas meets the demands of the theorists of that time as regards expression and harmony.
In contrast to J. Bach, it was not a profound intellectual exploration and musical interpretation of the text which Telemann felt to be in the foreground — it was the arousal of feelings and a dramatic, musical gesture. In this, Telemann agrees with Mattheson, who — in the "Musical Patriots" — demanded that church music should let the theatrical style achieve a general effect. That Telemann, the skilled composer of operas, had mastered the complete range of musical emotions, and also understood how to convert into musical terms the sense and the content of the text, is amply demonstrated in many aspects of the cantatas.
In the preliminary report to the "Continuation of the Harmonious Divine Worship", Telemann himself stresses that he tried to "introduce the rhetorical figures, so that the emotions which can be found in poetry can be awakened. These simple, song-like sections, with their simplest of accompaniments and parallel upper parts, show him to be an exponent of the new, "gallant" style.
The enormous popularity of the "Harmonious Divine Worship" can, in the end, not be held to be a result of the ease with which it can be performed; the reason lies in the novel ness of the music. Indeed, the prospect of again being able to write for the opera stage something he had had little opportunity to do since his student days in Leipzig - was probably an important reason for his moving to Hamburg.
But there seem to have been other reasons too. While it was naturally possible to live an equally pleasant and free life in both Frankfurt and Hamburg, it cannot have escaped the keenly observant Telemann that the republican and patriotic sentiments prevailing in the Hanseatic city promised to provide considerably more important and rewarding work for him. In no other city on the continent were the political, economic and cultural interests of the major European powers and of the numerous minor German states that had arisen after the Peace of Westphalia so interconnected and concentrated as they were in Hamburg.
And the citizens of no other German city had remained so vitally aware of their hard-won freedom or were so ready to defend it, while upholding their basically neutral position. Within the structure of the city-state, these 57 "civilian captains" formed a self-contained, highly respected and influential "civilian officers' college", established in conformance with medieval imperial privileges regarding urban self-defence and preparedness. In , soon after the beginning of the Thirty Years' War, it was thoroughly reorganized and the readiness of the Hamburg Militia to make sacrifices and answer the call of duty maintained peace and freedom in the city throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
In times of emergency, the commanding officers could within a short space of time summon together an army of some 10, men to defend the city's strong fortifications. Together with its regimental commanders, the "civilian colonels" represented by five councillors and their deputies, the officers' college of civilian captains had held a sumptuous banquet annually since Festive music very soon became entrenched and assumed ever greater significance at the event.
An especially elaborate, three-day banquet was held to celebrate the centenary of the honourable colonels and college of civilian captains in The occasion opened with a sacred "Oratorio" and ended in the evening hours with a secular "Serenata". From that time on, music to frame and elevate the feast became a fixed part of the annual ceremony, whose meticulous observance, including all preparations and the cleaning up afterwards, rested on the shoulders of five hard-working "non-commissioned" men, one from each regiment.
The closing ritual of the celebration was the symbolical "chain". Telemann's long-standing Hamburg poet friend and professor at the Johanneum, Michael Richey, describes the action as follows: "And then came the laudable old custom in which the honourable collegiates stood around their tables, crossed their arms and joined hands, thus demonstrating, to a cheerful musique, cordial intimacy and pleasure. This was called the chain and was always retained at the annual banquets as a laudable reminder of the necessary and healthy harmony. This seems a remarkable achievement, considering his already heavy workload in the service of the church and the city-state, which gave him numerous commissions for important official occasions and expected from its director of music a constant flow of appropriate pieces of ceremonial or banqueting music for peace celebrations, state receptions, church consecration ceremonies and the installation of preachers.
Since the banquets of the civilian captains had been "called off for grave reasons" three times in the course of the seventeenth century, the celebration to mark the th banquet had to be deferred until August 31, For the Protestant world, the year additionally marked the th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession. A bastion of Protestantism including the orthodox Lutheran church ever since the Reformation, Hamburg had celebrated the event in grand style in June, with all the music composed by Telemann regrettably lost.
It is no coincidence that Telemann took these and the other "prosaic" texts from the Old Testament and turned them into polyphonic choruses; while they are sophisticated, their melodic and rhythmic economy and elegance makes them seem untypical of the Baroque Nos.
Even the two inclusions of chorale stanzas by Georg Neumark Nos. However, "to everything there is a season" No. This joyfully animated and festively uplifting work by Telemann conveys not only something of the Hamburgers' legitimate pride at being citizens of a "republic" in the age of feudal absolutism, but also some idea of the astonishing refinement, unexpected variety and quality of its musical life.
As a Kapellmeister in Eisenach and Frankfurt —, — , he composed church cantatas representing at least five year cycles, and in Hamburg from up until his death over a dozen more — all in all he produced more than a thousand cantatas, as well as numerous passions, psalm settings and minor church pieces. Quite the opposite. For his year cycles in particular, he made use of diverse programmatic concepts: he employed different musical genres, composing styles and forms of expression, thus incorporating various European styles in German church music.
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