More Telemann beauties

In my previous review of another installment in Hänssler Classic’s cycle of Telemann cantatas under the baton of Ulrich Stötzel (Hänssler 98.047 from 2015), I wondered if I had reached the curve of diminishing returns. Not that those “Festive Cantatas” (meaning, apparently, with trumpets and timpani) were less beautiful than the other Festive Cantatas that I had listened to and reviewed just before (Hänssler 98.179, from 1997) – but they were very similar, and whatever their beauties, they seemed to just make more use of the same compositional processes, colors and twists, rather than renew them.

I am happy to report, then, that no, I haven’t grown jaded, and the three cantatas featured on Hänssler 98.624 (2011) continue to offer great beauties, here enhanced by the use of concertante oboes and recorders. Viva Telemann!



Law of diminishing returns?

New review of one more installment in Hänssler Classic’s series of Telemann Cantatas under the baton of Ulrich Stötzel, the concluding one from 2015 (the series was initiated in 1995), originally on Hänssler 98.047. Again “festive” cantatas (e.g. with trumpets and timpani, and in mostly triumphant and martial moods and colors), with many beauties, if not the unmistakable sonic identity which makes you recognize a work of Bach, Handel and Vivaldi in a few seconds.

More beautiful cantatas by Telemann – a recording from a quarter-of-century ago


Listening further to Hänssler Classic’s 2017 Telemann compilation, mainly of recordings made between 1995 and 2015 by conductor Ulrich Stötzel and his forces from Hannover, many premiere recordings at the time (made with support from – and scores provided by – the Magsdeburg Telemann-Centre), and most still not re-recorded to this day. On CD 5 are three more magnificent cantatas, originally on Hänssler Classic 98.179 published in 1997, and I’ve just reviewed it. See my blog-post of yesterday for context.


Again, I’ve enjoyed those cantatas so much that I ordered the original CD, just for the history and context that I hope are provided in the booklet. The compilation comes with no liner notes nor lyrics.

Still around, though mostly silent

I enjoyed so much Telemann’s Cantata TWV 14:12 written to celebrate the conclusion of the Peace Treaty of Paris in 1763 putting an end to the Seven-Year-War, in the quarter-of-century-old recording under the baton of Ulrich Stötzel on Hänssler Classic (and still the only recording, 25 years later) that I felt compelled to write and publish a quick review.

I feel that the popularity and posthumous fame of the “Holy Trinity” of the Baroque era, Bach Handel Vivaldi, has done great disservice to Telemann. But Telemann’s own and singular prolificity is also to blame. With a composer whose catalog numbers some 3000 works – even taking in account that half are lost –, how can you even start to sort out the wheat from the chaff, the exceptional from the run-of-the-mill? And the suspicion will always hover over Telemann’s output that quantity forbids quality. Compared to Telemann’s reported 1043 sacred cantatas… and 46 settings of The Passion (!!!), Bach had the good sense to compose only 300 cantatas (of which circa 200 are extant today), five masses and five Passions (and only two have reached us extant), and Handel 42 operas and 29 oratorios. Even Vivaldi’s infamous “500 times the same Concerto” – an ignorant and unfair quip! – pale in comparison to Telemann’s 600 overture-suites and (only?) 50 concertos…

Not all the music of Telemann I listen to strikes me as exceptional – but it often does, and the Cantata is a good case in point.


And I’ve taken the opportunity to re-publish an old review from Amazon: Hamburgische Kapitänsmusik, 1755 by La Stagione Frankfurt, cond. Michael Schneider, 2 Cpo 999 211-2 (recorded 1993, published 1999). More great Telemann.