Georg Philipp Telemann , organist and composer, was born on March 14, 1681 in Magdeburg, Germany and died June 25, 1767 in Hamburg, Germany. Today, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and George Frederick Handel (1685-1759) are probably the most famous composers of the Baroque Period
(1600-1750) in music; however, Telemann was born before, and outlived,
both Bach and Handel, was more famous during his lifetime than either
and, most remarkably, wrote more music than Bach and Handel combined!
One of the main differences between Baroque style and that of the Classical Period (1750-1825) which followed, was the use of counterpoint - literally note (point) against (counter) note (point). With 21st century ears, we tend to hear a single melody, usually the highest part, with (harmonic) accompaniment; however, much of Telemann’s music consists of several melodies, all of which are equally important. Telemann is considered to be a link between late Baroque and the Classical Period. By the age 10, he had taught himself to play the violin, flute, zither and keyboard.
At the start of the 18th century, music was only available to nobility or through the church - public concerts or even music stores didn’t exist. Telemann was a true innovator in making music available to the general public; in Leipzip in 1702, he formed a student society called Collegium musicum, one of the first series of concerts that was actually open to the public - J. S. Bach took over as conductor in 1723, resulting in Bach’s developing the keyboard concerto, specifically for the summer concerts held in Zimmermann’s garden on Windmühlstrasse in Leipzig.
Telemann did his own advertising and started a subscription service for his works, most of which he even engraved himself. His works for flute include 11 Concertos, 3 Double Concertos (for 2 flutes or flute and recorder), 12 Fantasias for unaccompanied flute, numerous Sonatas and the famous Suite in A Minor for flute and strings.
The Symphony developed from the Orchestral Suite, which in turn, developed from the Dance Suite - collections of shorter dance pieces. J. S. Bach wrote four Orchestral Suites between 1717 and 1723, while he was conductor of the court orchestra in Cöthen - including his Suite No. 2 in B Minor for flute and strings.
Like Telemann, Bach’s Suites use Continuo (Harpsichord and Cello) and are made up of six or seven “movements” (using the terminology of the symphony), opening with an “Overture” (the actual name by which Bach referred to his Suites) written in the French style: slow introduction (using dotted rhythms) followed by a faster, more lively (and contrapuntal) main section, concluding with a slow section, alluding to the opening. The Overture, which is, by far, the longest movement, is then followed by shorter “dance” movements (i.e., movements using the structure and style of various dances - Minuet, etc.).
Unlike Bach’s Suite in B Minor, which is a Suite, which happens to employ the Flute, and occasionally feature it, Telemann’s Suite in A Minor uses the Flute as a Solo Instrument, only employing it in the tutti sections in the Overture.
All of the movements of Telemann’s Suite in A Minor have French titles, including, surprisingly enough, Air a L’Italien (an Air in an Italian style).
Little of the history of this work is known; it was not published until 1936 - based on an 18th Century manuscript which had no forward, title page or date, at the Hessian State and High School Library in Darmstadt. The work was originally for flauto (alto recorder in F) and strings.
In this arrangement, short introductions have been used in the first two movements, the accompaniment has been made fuller in solo sections which used only continuo and the Da Capo sections have been written out.
Concerto in D Major Few changes have been made other than adding introductions. The entire concerto is available as a Flute Solo with SmartMusic Accompaniment.
Book - 43 pages - $19.95
CD - 18 Audio tracks & 9 MIDI Files