Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Telemann

Dr. Bob Prescribes Georg Philipp Telemann: Concerti per molte stromenti 

In his lifetime, the composer Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) was considered the single greatest composer living and working in the German-speaking world. (Whereas his contemporary, Johann Sebastian Bach [1685-1750], was perceived as being a composer of third-rate importance, if that.) By the late-nineteenth century, Telemann’s music had come to be considered by many “authorities” – when it was considered at all – to be the work of a fifth-rate talent, hardly better than a charlatan. By the mid-twentieth century, his work had been reappraised once again, and a more balanced and frankly more fair evaluation had been made, one we can live with today. A few quotes will establish nicely these “changing views” of Telemann’s music. In the eighteenth century, Telemann’s music was universally admired, as the following quotes attest. The famed German composer, singer, lexicographer, and music theorist Johann Mattheson (1681-1764) wrote this bit of doggerel in 1740: “A Lully is renowned;Corelli one may praise;But Telemann alonehas above mere fame been raised.” In 1754, the German writer and editor Friedrich Wilhelm Zachariae (1726-1777) opined: “Yet who is this ancient, who with flowering pen, full of holy fire, the wond’ring temple charms? Telemann, none but thou, celestial music’s sire.” The […]

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