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Telemann: Tafelmusik (First Production)

Dietfried BERNET Conductor

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Ouverture-Suite in E Minor, TWV 55:e1 1 I. Ouverture: Lentement-Vite 7:09 2 II. Rejouissance 3:25 3 III. Rondeau 2:16 4 IV. Lourée 2:21 5 V. Passepied 3:09 6 VI. Air un peu vivement 7:21 7 VII. Gigue 2:47 HELMUT RIESSBERGER and GERHARD PERZ, Flutes HILDE LANGFORT, Harpsichord Quartetto in G Major, TWV 43:G2 8 I. Largo - Allegro 4:01 9 II. Vivace 2:50 10 III. Moderato 4:34 11 IV. Grave - Vivace 2:15 HELMUT RIESSBERGER, Flute ALFRED HERTEL, Oboe MANFRED GEYRHALTER, Violin JOSEF LUITZ, Cello HILDE LANGFORT, Harpsichord Concerto for Flute, Violin and Cello in A Major, TWV 53:A2 12 I. Largo 5:07 13 II. Allegro 6:28 14 III. Gracioso 4:37 15 IV. Allegro 6:29 HELMUT RIESSBERGER, Flute RUDOLF KALUP, Violin JOSEF LUITZ, Solo Cello HILDE LANGFORT, Harpsichord Trio Sonata in E-Flat Major, TWV 42:Es1 16 I. Affetuoso 2:44 17 II. Vivace 2:48 18 III. Grave 3:21 19 IV. Allegro 3:03 RUDOLF KALUP and MANFRED GEYRHALTER, Violins HILDE LANGFORT, Harpsichord JOSEF LUITZ, Cello Sonata for Flute and Basso Continuo in B Minor, TWV 41:h4 20 I. Cantabile 3:13 21 II. Allegro 2:44 22 III. Dolce 2:58 23 IV. Allegro 2:54 HELMUT RIESSBERGER, Flute JOSEF LUITZ, Cello HILDE LANGFORT, Harpsichord Conclusion in E Minor, TWV 50:5 24 I. Allegro - Largo 6:14 HELMUT RIESSBERGER and GERHARD PERZ, Flutes HILDE LANGFORT, Harpsichord AUSTRIAN TONKUENSTLER ORCHESTRA, Vienna Dietfried BERNET Conductor Georg Philipp Telemann, the son of a clergyman in Magdeburg, was largely self-taught in music. His formal education was rounded off at the University of Leipzig, where he studied law and languages. Dur- ing his student days, he wrote a number of operas and cantatas and, in 1704, he obtained his first musical appointment as organist and choir master of the New Church. In Leipzig he also founded the Collegium Musicum made up mainly of students. This ensemble presented the first public concerts in that city and outlasted Telemann's stay in Leipzig. Some twenty years later its director was Johann Sebastian Bach. Beginning in 1705, Telemann held a number of posts as Kapellmeister, first to Count Promnitz in Sorau (East Germany), then to the court of Eisenach (1709-1712), and, from 1712 to 1721, in Frankfurt. In 1721 Telemann was appointed Cantor of the Johanneum and music director of the five principal churches in Hamburg, positions he retained for the last forty-six years of his long life. In addition to his numerous duties, he continued to supply compositions to the city of Frankfurt and to the courts of Eisenach and Bayreuth. From Hamburg, Telemann undertook a number of trips to other musical centers, such as Berlin and Paris. This latter visit, in 1737, was the fulfillment of a dream, since Telemann had always been an admirer of French music and had been influenced by its style, having in his youth studied the scores of such masters as Lully and Campra. Lacking the profundity of some of his older North German contemporaries, the strength of Telemann' s music lies in other directions: external brilliance thematic inventiveness, delight in orchestral experimentation. Among later scholars, who judged him by standards to which Telemann never aspired, these tendencies earned him the reputation of a superficial musician, whereas these very elements of his "international" style helped to make him one of the most popular composers of his age, whose fame surpassed that of Bach by a considerable margin. The number of Telemann's works published during his litetime, as compared to the small number of Bach' s works which attained that distinction, is ample testimony to this fact. And, if we consult Johann Gottfried Walther's Musikalisches Lexikon of 1732, we find Telemann's biography spread over one and a half pages while Bach is given less than half a page. The decline in popular esteem during the following era, that of the Mannheim school and the Viennese classics, affected Telemann no less than Bach and all other baroque composers. A new beginning had to be made during the nineteenth century, and this brought with it the re-discovery of the music of Bach, accompanied by a scholarly interest in, but popular neglect of, the music by most of those composers who were now lumped together as Bach's forerunners and contemporaries. Thus, we find even in the 1955 edition of Grove’s Dictionary only two pages allotted to Telemann as against twenty-eight and a half pages devoted to Bach. The nineteenth and early twentieth century neglect of Telemann, at times bordering on contempt, has gradually given way to a more just evaluation of his genius, and a recognition of his true place in musical history. We now see in him not only an accomplished and facile writer in all the familiar forms of baroque composition, but a great forerunner of the rococo. His music is highly inventive and, if it lacks the depth of Bach, it is extremely polished and, in its bend toward experimentation explores a great many imitative and programmatic devices, the influence of which reaches as far as the romantic age. Telemann’s fusion of German and French styles, his use of northern polyphony to express a joie de vivre, rarely encountered up to then, give his music a cosmopolitan grace which, in recent decades, led to its wider acceptance. There is full justification for the new Telemann renaissance we are experiencing at present. Taken on its own terms, this is music able to give much joy and pleasure to the listener. Of Telemann’s vast instrumental output, the Musique de Table is probably the most important and impressive part. Musique de Table or Tafelmusik was music intended to be played as background, or rather entertainment for festive banquets. Telemann composed his in three different productions or cycles, which are formally quite similar, but differ as to instrumentation. All consist of an orchestral suite, a quartet, an orchestral concerto, a trio sonata, a solo sonata with continuo and an orchestral conclusion, which, as a finale to the whole cycle, really represents the final movement to the opening orchestral suite. Each of these constituent parts is a complete composition in itself and can be performed separately. The title of Telemann’s original edition of 1733 reads as follows: Musique de Table, partagée en Trois Productions, dont chacun contient 1 Ouverture avec la suite à 7 instruments, 1 Quatuor, 1 Concert à 7, Trio, 1 Solo, 1 Conclusion à 7, et don’t les instruments se diversifient par tour: composée par George Philippe Telemann, Maitre de Chapelle de Lrs. As. St. le Duc de Saxe-Eisenach, et le Margrave de Bayreuth: Directeur de la Musique à Hambourg. These three productions enjoyed a tremendous success upon their appearance. They were ordered from such musical centers as Berlin, Breslau, Dresden, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Leipzig, London, Paris, Christiania (Oslo), and Copenhagen, and helped greatly to establish the international reputation of Telemann. FLORIAN GRASSMAYR
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