RSS

French flair, Italian furore — A cross-cultural exchange in music

Given the difficulties of travel and communication three centuries ago, it is all the more exciting to find that there was actually a great deal of musical exchange in Europe at this time. Indeed, because music was so highly appreciated at the courts, composers were often paid to travel, in order to bring back the latest styles and compositions. So it was that during the first half of the eighteenth century many French composers adopted Italian elements in their compositions and also used the Italian vocabulary to name works and movements.

Antonio Vivaldi enjoyed a vast popularity and many composers were influenced by his writing-style. He was the first one to use systematically the ritornello form in fast movements, in which a musical passage is repeated several times by the tutti and alternated with soloistic, highly virtuosic parts.

In the following programme we present chamber music for various instruments by Antonio Vivaldi and by several French composers, experimenting with italian forms and styles.

  • Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (16821765)
  • Sonata no. 1 for three dessus (top voices) and basso continuo, op. 34/1
  • Adagio — Presto — Adagio – Allegro
  • 6 min
  • Antonio Vivaldi (16781741)
  • Concerto for recorder, oboe and basso continuo, RV 103
  • Allegro ma cantabile – Largo — Allegro non molto
  • 8 min
  • Marin Marais (16561728)
  • Petite Passacaille for two dessus and basso continuo
  • 3 min
  • Antoine Dornel (ca. 16851765)
  • Sonate en Quatuor for three dessus and basso continuo
  • Gravement — Vite — [without notation]
  • 8 min
  • Antonio Vivaldi
  • Concerto for recorder, violin, bassoon and basso continuo, RV 106
  • Allegro – Adagio – Allegro
  • 8 min
  • Michel Corrette (17091795)
  • 6. Concerto comique ‘Le Plaisir des Dames’ for three dessus and basso continuo, op.8/6
  • Allegro — Adagio – Allegro
  • 6 min
  • Antonio Vivaldi
  • Concerto for recorder, violin, oboe, bassoon and basso continuo, RV 105
  • Allegro – Largo – Allegro
  • 9 min
  • Total: 48 min

Leipzig connections — Candidates for the post of Thomas Kantor in Leipzig

After the death in 1722 of Johann Kuhnau, Thomas Kantor of Leipzig, six people applied for the job, including Johann Friedrich Fasch and Georg Philipp Telemann. The authorities of Leipzig were looking for a ‘famous man’. The gifted musician and composer Telemann, being a most respected celebrity, won the competition. But when his employers in Hamburg offered to increase his salary, he turned down the Leipzig position.

Fasch had also been among the favourites for the post, but he had recently become Kapellmeister in Zerbst, and thought it was too soon to leave.

The job of Kantor in Leipzig was advertised again and one of the new candidates was Johann Sebastian Bach. This time Graupner won the election. However, since he turned it down, Bach was finally appointed to the post. The feelings in the authorities in Leipzig were divided: ‘As the best ones could not be contracted, it has to be the middle one’ said Dr Platz. The mayor of Leipzig, Dr Lange, had another view: ‘If Bach is chosen, Telemann can be forgotten.’ Genius is a moot point!

In this programme we present the three candidates Georg Philipp Telemann, Johann Friedrich Fasch and Johann Sebastian Bach. We perform a Trio– and a Quadrosonata by Telemann and Fasch. By Bach we interpret a chamber and a solo composition, as well as two ‘Contrapuncti’ from ‘Die Kunst der Fuge’. These are performed in a charming arrangement for two winds and two strings, which gives every voice its own colour and helps the listener to follow the individual melodic lines.

  • Johann Friedrich Fasch (16881758)
  • Sonata à 4 in B major for recorder, oboe, violin and basso continuo, FWV N:B1
  • Largo – Allegro — Largo – Allegro
  • 9 min
  • Georg Philipp Telemann (16811767)
  • Trio in B minor for violin, viola da gamba and basso continuo, TWV 42:h6
  • Largo — Vivace — Andante – Allegro
  • 13 min
  • Johann Sebastian Bach (16851750)
  • Contrapunctus 1 from: Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080
  • 6 min
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Präludium and Fuge in B-flat major, BWV 866 for harpsischord from: Das Wohltemperierte Clavier, Teil I
  • 4 min
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Contrapunctus 9 a 4 alla Duodecima from: Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080
  • 4 min
  • Johann Friedrich Fasch
  • Trio in E minor for oboe, violin and basso continuo, FWV N:e1
  • Adagio — Allegro — Affetuoso – Allegro
  • 9 min
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Trio in F major for recorder, violin and basso continuo, after BWV 529
  • Largo – Vivace – Adagio – Presto
  • 12 min
  • Georg Philipp Telemann
  • Concerto in A minor for recorder, oboe, violin and basso continuo, TWV 43:a3
  • Adagio — Allegro — Adagio – Vivace
  • 11 min
  • Total: 68 min

Tastes of Europe’ — Telemann’s chamber music

In this programme we interpret trios and quartets by Georg Philipp Telemann. More than in the ‘true German style’, Telemann composed in ‘mixed taste’, a creative blend of the German, Italian, French and Polish national styles of the Baroque period. Some works and movements let one style shimmer through more than another. So it is that some early compositions entirely ‘smell of France’, others are full of Italian temper and several movements sound like Polish folk music in ‘its true, barbaric beauty’ (Telemann).

Not only the styles, but also the instrumentation of his chamber music is a mixture of different sound-colours. Telemann’s quartets were widely praised and are impressive examples of colourful tutti-playing, alternated with some very virtuosic parts for each instrument. But Telemann himself said that his trios were his ‘greatest strength’. The two upper voices present each instrument perfectly and every combination of instruments has its own wonderful sound-world.

  • Georg Philipp Telemann (16811767)
  • Concerto in A minor for recorder, oboe, violin and basso continuo, TWV 43:a3
  • Adagio — Allegro — Adagio – Vivace
  • 11 min
  • Trio in B minor for violin, viola da gamba and basso continuo, TWV 42:h6
  • Largo — Vivace — Andante – Allegro
  • 13 min
  • Trio in E minor for two dessus (top voices) and basso continuo, TWV 42:e11
  • Tendrement — Viste Gay — Grave – Allegrement
  • 12 min
  • Trio in F major for recorder, viola da gamba and basso continuo, TWV 42:F3
  • Vivace — Mesto – Allegro
  • 7 min
  • Trio in G minor for oboe, violin and basso continuo, TWV 42:g5
  • Mesto — Allegro — Andante – Vivace
  • 9 min
  • Trio in D minor for recorder, violin and basso continuo, TWV 42:d10
  • Allegro — Adagio — Allegro – Presto
  • 8 min
  • Sonata in G major for recorder, oboe, violin and basso continuo, TWV 43:G6
  • Allegro — Grave – Allegro
  • 7 min
  • Total: 67 min

…in deep admiration: Telemann — Fasch — Händel

Johann Friedrich Fasch was seven years younger than Telemann and admired him greatly. He wrote that he had learnt ‘nearly everything’ from his ‘beautiful works’. When Fasch arrived as a student in Leipzig, he founded his own ‘Collegium Musicum’, which was competing, in a friendly way, with the one Telemann had founded some years earlier. When Fasch was awarded the post of Hofkappellmeister in Zerbst (1722), he established a large music library there and collected 90 works by his ‘admired and beloved friend’ Telemann.

On his way to Leipzig, the young Telemann stopped in Halle to meet sixteen year-old Georg Friedrich Händel. The two composers started a friendship which lasted the rest of their lives. Händel used several works by Telemann as inspiration and Telemann performed Händels compositions as a music-director in Hamburg. Until their death they communicated by post. There are touching remarks by both composers, expressing their affection. When Händel was in London he even sent a ‘box of flowers’ to his friend, because he knew Telemann liked exotic plants. A moving story of a ‘deeply felt friendship’ (Händel).

This programme contains a trio– and a quartet composition from each composer. A programme ‘Telemann-Fasch’ or ‘Telemann-Händel’ is also possible.

  • Georg Friedrich Händel (16851759)
  • Ouverture to Rinaldo, HWV 7
  • Largo — Allegro — Adagio – Allegro
  • 6 min
  • Georg Philipp Telemann (16811767)
  • Trio sonata in B minor for violin, viola da gamba and basso continuo, TWV 42:h6
  • Largo — Vivace — Andante – Allegro
  • 13 min
  • Johann Friedrich Fasch (16881758)
  • Sonata in B-flat major for recorder, oboe, violin and basso continuo, FWV N:B1
  • 9 min
  • Georg Friedrich Händel
  • Trio sonata in F major for recorder, violin and basso continuo, op. 2/4 HWV 389
  • Larghetto — Allegro — Adagio — Allegro – Allegro
  • 12 min
  • Johann Friedrich Fasch
  • Trio sonata in E minor for oboe, violin and basso continuo, FWV N:e1
  • Adagio — Allegro — Affetuoso – Allegro
  • 9 min
  • Georg Philipp Telemann
  • Sonata in G major for recorder, oboe, violin and basso continuo TWV 43:G6
  • Allegro — Grave – Allegro
  • 7 min
  • Total: 56 min