Bret Pimentel, woodwinds
Kumiko Shimizu, piano
Nicole Davis, cello
Works by Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767)
Delta State University Department of Music
Recital Hall, Bologna Performing Arts Center
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Sonata in A minor for oboe and basso continuo, TWV 41:a 3 (c. 1728)
- Andante amabile
Sonata in F major for recorder and basso continuo, TWV 41:F 2 (1728)
Sonata in F minor for bassoon and basso continuo, TWV 41:f 1 (1728)
Fantasie no. 8 in E minor, TWV 40:9 (1732)
Concerto in A major TWV, 51:A2 (c. 1728)
Sonata I from VI Sonates en duo, TWV 40:118 (1738)
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767) was a leading composer of his time, celebrated both critically and popularly. He is reputed as one of the most prolific composers of all time, with over 3,000 known works (count among his honors an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records). His output is not only staggeringly large, but also very diverse, sometimes to the chagrin of the churches that employed him; his operas and other secular projects were sometimes regarded as unseemly. Still, composers of the stature of Handel and J. S. Bach were students of his works.
Telemann was also an entrepeneur music publisher, and was influential in establishing ideas that persist today about musical work as the intellectual property of composers. He flouted customs of the day by publishing his works for his own profit, and by publicly performing works originally commissioned for closed parties or ceremonies.
Telemann’s reputation changed in the 19th century due to some criticism from scholars who considered him to have been too unlike J. S. Bach, and too prolific, presuming that his large output was indicative of low-quality work. 20th-century re-evaluations of Telemann’s oeuvre restored much of his popularity, though in most cases assigning him a place somewhere beneath Bach and the Viennese masters.
The Telemann-Werke-Verzeichnis (Telemann Works Catalog), published in the 20th century, groups Telemann’s works by category. TWV classification 41 includes works for solo instrument with basso continuo (a chording instrument such as the harpsichord, plus a bass instrument such as the modern cello used on this program), about 130 in total including the sonatas presented tonight (for oboe, for recorder, and for bassoon).
TWV 51 contains nearly 60 concerti for solo instrument with orchestra; TWV 51:A2 was originally scored for the oboe d’amore (a larger cousin of the oboe) with orchestral strings, but is presented here adapted for clarinet with piano. Telemann was one of the first major composers to write for the clarinet (as early as 1721), but primarily as an ensemble instrument within large orchestras.
Telemann’s Fantasies for flute “without bass” (that is to say, unaccompanied) remain popular for that instrument and adapted to others, such as the soprano saxophone used in this program. Each of the 12 multi-movement works is in a different major or minor key.
The VI Sonates en duo are remarkable studies in counterpoint. Each is intended to be played by two musicians, reading from identical parts, but starting at different times in the manner of a round (think “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”). In tonight’s performance, the Akai Electronic Wind Instrument (“EWI,” pronounced to rhyme with “kiwi”) is combined with a digital delay pedal (of the type most often used by electric guitarists), to create this effect with just a single musician.
– Bret Pimentel