Telemann, Georg Philipp

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Telemann, Georg Philipp

(gā`ôrk fē`lĭp tĕl`əmän), 1681–1767, German composer. From 1721 until his death he was director of music for the five major churches in Hamburg. Extremely prolific, he composed scores of overtures, 40 operas, 12 complete services for the year, and other works in practically every form. Although he was highly regarded in his day, his reputation later declined because he was not an innovator; by the mid-20th cent., however, his critical reputation was again on the rise. Telemann is a major representative of the Hamburg school of the early 18th cent. A mixture of counterpoint and Italian operatic air forms his style. One of his best-known works is the oratorio entitled Der Tag des Gerichts [the day of judgment] (1762).

Telemann, Georg Philipp

 

Born Mar. 14, 1681, in Magdeburg; died June 25, 1767, in Hamburg. German composer, organist, and conductor.

Telemann taught himself music. Beginning in 1701 he studied law at the University of Leipzig, where he founded the music society Collegium Musicum. In 1704 he was an organist in Leipzig. From 1704 to 1708 he was Kapellmeister at the court of a prince in Sorau (now Zary, Poland). Telemann’s visit to Kraków, where he became acquainted with Polish folk music, had a great influence on him. From 1708 to 1712 he was the court musician in Eisenach, where he met J. S. Bach. From 1712 to 1721 he was cantor and music director in Frankfurt-am-Main. In 1721 he became the municipal music director of Hamburg, and until the end of his life, he directed the city’s church choirs and operatic theater; he played an important role in the theater’s activities. In 1728 he began publishing the music journal Der getreue Musicmeister.

Telemann worked in many genres. His compositions include about 40 operas, numerous religious cantatas, oratorios, Passion music, masses, orchestral overtures, suites, concerti grossi, works for the clavier and violin, and trio sonatas. A contemporary of Bach and G. F. Handel, he combined polyphony and features of the new “gallant” style of the 18th century. He also wrote simple musical pieces for playing at home, and often composed program music, including the orchestral suite Don Quixote.

REFERENCES

Rolland, R. Muzykal’noe puteshestvie v stranu proshlogo. Sobr. soch., vol. 17. Leningrad, 1935. Chapter 5.
Rabei, V. Georg Filipp Telemann. Moscow, 1974.