Telemann : Concertos & Ouverture
Georg Philipp Telemann remains hard to define even a good fifty years after his revival. Only now are we slowly beginning to understand and appreciate the true worth of his works which long stood in the shadow of his colleagues Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Friedrich Händel, both elevated to superhuman musical titans in a decidedly one-sided view of history. The exact opposite held true during Telemann’s own lifetime. He was one of the most famous and influential composers of his generation, someone who was emulated and whose melodies were reused by other musicians. He mastered every national musical style and genre and wrote with such facility that, with over 3,600 works to his name, he can still be counted amongst the most productive composers ever. His openness toward new trends, his melodic inventiveness and his eagerness in trying out new instrumental combinations certainly made him Germany’s foremost composer in the 18th century. Since he organised public concerts outside aristocratic or ecclesiastical circles he also exercised considerable influence upon middle-class attitudes to music. He effortlessly broke down boundaries between musical genres and continued to spring surprises with his unconventional ideas, even 250 years on. A closer look at three strikingly different Concerti will serve to illustrate this wide diversity.