Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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John Butt on Telemann

Thu Nov 22 2018

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Our Principal Artist John Butt directs Pipedreams, a concert of music by great friends Handel and Telemann in Glasgow and London.

He explains why Telemann’s music is just as wonderful as that by Handel.

“It’s unfair to Telemann to consider him inferior to Bach and Handel.

The problem perhaps lies in his wonderful altruism, attempting to write something for virtually every available instrument and also gearing his music to a broad range of abilities. He was really one of the first composers to have a real sense of responsibility towards the newly emerging amateur culture.

Telemann produced more music than Handel and Bach together, all of it worthwhile in one way or another; but his best music is obviously that which he conceived for the very best performers, and here his music almost always matches Handel’s in its variety, interest and subtlety.

Handel and Telemann knew each other early on in life, while they were both studying in Leipzig. It seems that they continued their friendship later in life, albeit in different countries, and Telemann dominated the music scene in Hamburg just as Handel did in London. They both participated in the newly emerging mixing of national styles that was developing in the early eighteenth century and both were keen to integrate traditional compositional techniques with more popular styles.”



Thursday 29 November, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall BOOK NOW

Monday 3 December, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre BOOK NOW

The Night Shift

John Butt also plays Telemann down the pub at The Night Shift at Camden Assembly on Tuesday 27 November. BOOK NOW

One Comment

  • This is a very fair assessment, Telemann studied the minutiae of “Les gouts reunis” and added special twists, often a Polish verve &elan, he was in effect a mater fusionist of styles. He also worked to provide many accessible works for almost every size of performance possibility, and at various levels. The Vast array Cantatas are still virtually unknown outside Germany, many eminent scholars/musicologists have tackled the main Cycles, and thus have been given their very first Editions; the qualities of these will not be known properly for some Years, but at least there’s the possibility of filtering through into performance & recordings, CPO being a veritable Flagship label!! (See New Christmas Cantatas=Zellischer Cycle) This incredibly prolific polymath of the Baroque left behind a massive legacy, which was scattered through main major cities of applied musical activity, even after he’d actually left the positions he’d held in them; alone Hamburg with 46 Years of service gave him ample opportunity to flex his musical abilities,with special comissions for Birthdays, Funerals and Marriages, plus the yearlyPassions, Passion-oratorios, and Kapitaensmusiken, whilst still supplying Works to Frankfurt & Eisenach. One day there must surely be a generous flood of light, from under this mighty Bushel of neglect, caused by skewed, incorrect perspectives, false estimation, and an historic overshadowing allowed by some to persist: Sic claraque Luce refulsit!

    DaveB=Melanti Fri Nov 23 2018