Georg Philipp Telemann was yet another of the Baroque composers born in the 1680s, along with Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, and Rameau. During his life, he was considered a composer of the first rank, and he was far more successful at finding well-paying positions than his friend Bach. The Bach revival of the 19th century raised Bach at the expense of Telemann, whose reputation became that of a second-rate hack. His extraordinary prolificness was used against him: how could anyone who wrote over 3000 pieces of music be doing anything but churning out drivel? Of course, the same criticism wasn’t made of Schubert, who wrote over 1000 while dying at 31 where Telemann was still active at 86. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that his work became appreciated once again, though he’s still largely overshadowed by Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi.
Today’s selection is a concerto grosso for flute, violin, and cello. One thing I especially enjoy is the way that the solo instruments are all equally important and constantly trade the melody back and forth.
All the music from the this series can be found and enjoyed here.