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.

Comments are welcome