Sunday, October 28, 2007

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)

The German composer and organist Georg Philipp Telemann, b. Mar. 14, 1681, d. June 25, 1767, was regarded during his lifetime as one of Germany's greatest musicians. He was so prolific that he was never able to count the number of his compositions. Self-taught in music, he studied languages and science at the University of Leipzig. He held a series of important musical positions, culminating in that of music director of the five largest churches in Hamburg, from 1720 until his death. Telemann traveled widely, absorbing various musical styles and incorporating them into his own compositions. He was a friend of Johann Sebastian Bach and godfather to Bach's son Carl Philipp Emanuel. Handel, also his friend, was quoted as saying that Telemann could write an eight-part motet as easily as anybody else could write a letter. Telemann's contrapuntal skill, melodic facility in the Italian style, French elegance, and fertile imagination resulted in music that was fluent but often lacking in depth. His influence on German musicians has been minimal, but since the mid-20th century his music has been increasingly performed and recorded. Telemann's amazing productivity resulted in 12 cycles of cantatas for the entire church year. He also composed huge quantities of chamber music; many concertos, and solo harpsichord and organ works; about 600 orchestral suites; and 40 operas. - Malaspina Biography

Sheet music: Georg Philipp Telemann

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