2015-2016 – A Celebration of the Montgomery Philharmonic’s 10th Anniversary Season

Concert 3 – February 7, 2015

About Georg Philipp Telemann –
Telemann was a self-taught composer and multi-instrumentalist. His family wanted him to become a lawyer, so he entered the University of Leipzig to study law. All the while, however, he was learning to play various instruments and composing on the side. A setting of Psalm 6 was performed while he was in law school, and it so impressed the mayor of Leipzig that Telemann was commissioned to regularly compose works for the city’s two main churches – Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche. At this point, he left the university and began to compose in earnest. Telemann frequently traveled to hear the latest composition techniques, so that he could improve his composing skills. Telemann traveled to hear Caldara, Archangelo Corelli, Rosenmuller, Handel, Kuhnau, Lully, and Campra. He also taught himself to play the flute, oboe, chalumeau, viola da-gamba, double bass, and trombone. This helped him understand the potential of each instrument so that he knew how to exploit it in his music.
Telemann held positions at churches in Leipzig, Sorau, Eisenach, and Frankfurt, and eventually settled in Hamburg in 1721, where he became music director of the city’s five main churches. Telemann and Bach are considered the two most prolific composers in history and were very good friends. Telemann was the godfather and namesake to Bach’s son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.
Telemann’s music is influenced by French, Italian, and Polish styles of composition. Churches, town councils for civic occasions, and collegium musica all requested his compositions
. He also served as an administrator in Leipzig for Haus Braunfels and the city director of music in Frankfurt. These various positions put him in the public eye and provided occasions to compose much more secular music than his two contemporaries, Handel and Bach. Much of his catalogue was also published during his lifetime and thus much of his work has been preserved

Born: March 14, 1681, Magdeburg, Germany
Died: June 25, 1767, Hamburg, Germany
Spouse: Maria Catharina Textor
Children: Andreas Telemann
Parents: Maria Haltmeier, Heinrich Telemann
Works: 31 church cantatas, 11 oratorios and passions, 33 psalms, 23 motets, 3 masses, 2 secular cantatas, 6 fugues for keyboard, 1 chorale prelude, 43 sonatas and concerti for keyboard, 132 chamber works for instrumentalists, 10 works for orchestra, 78 concerti for solo or groups of instruments and orchestra, 32 orchestral suites
Concerto in G for Viola and Orchestra, TWV 51:G9 (1716–1721)Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767)
Telemann wrote 78 concerti. Only one of them was written for viola, but it remains his most played concerto. The first known concerto for viola, it was written 1716–1721 while he was serving as music director for the city of Frankfurt. Telemann wrote it for the weekly Frauenstein concerts and it was performed in Frankfurt in 1715. Telemann looks toward other traditions of the time in writing this concerto and uses four movements. He uses the slur to distinguish between movements. The slur is only used in the two slow movements; no slurs are used in the fast movements.
The opening largo is in 3/2 time, with many dotted rhythms and opportunities to add ornamentation. The second movement is an allegro written in 4/4 time. This movement has a distinct syncopated theme that is woven through secondary themes and develops into an independent theme at the end of the movement. The third movement is a lovely andante in the relative minor key of E. In this movement, Telemann exploits the capability and the beauty of playing only on the upper strings of the viola. The fourth and final movement is a presto in the original key of G major. This movement is in the binary-dance form. It is interesting to note that the basso continuo is anything but continuous; rather, it participates in imitative polyphony with the other instruments in the orchestra and sometimes actually drops out. This composition technique was new for that time period and became a technique used during the classic period.

Instrumentation – Solo viola, strings
(Featuring the winners of the Bernie Rappaport Competition)