Friday March 23, 2018 | 7:30PM (Pre-concert talk at 6:45)
Christ Church Cathedral | Map
A major figure of 18th century musical Europe, Telemann enjoyed in his time more fame and renown than even the great J.S. Bach. This great master of instrumental music, open to French and Italian influences as well as the new gallant style that flourished in Germany, succeeded, especially in his chamber music, in creating a charming synthesis of European styles at the crossroads between Baroque and Classicism.
“Flawless playing for all concerned, both in the suavity of the sound, the perfect balance and neat interplay between the voices, and the keen sense of drama they bring to Telemann’s outstanding chamber music.” – Early Music Review
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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Sonata II for traverso, violin, gamba and basso continuo TWV 43:g1 (Sei Quadri, Hambourg, 1730)
Sonata in A minor TWV 42:a7 for traverso, gamba and basso continuo
Georg Friedrich HAENDEL (1685-1759)
Concerto a 4 (D minor) (v. 1715, ms. Graf von Schönborn, Wisentheid)
Trio V for violin, gamba and basso continuo TWV 42:g1 (Sechs Trios, Francfort 1718)
6ème Quatuor TWV 43:e4 (Nouveaux Quatuors, Paris, 1738)
Serge Saitta, traverso
Stéphan Dudermel, violin
Florence Bolton, viola da gamba
Benjamin Perrot, theorbo
Carsten Lohff, harpsichord
Georg Philipp Telemann was a figurehead in the musical world of the 18th century : he travelled all over Germany, spoke several languages and was open to the different European musical styles. He did not follow the same path as J. S. Bach but claimed to be self taught. Soon after graduating from law school, he turned towards music and became one of the most fashionable musicians in Germany. He was sought after by the towns and courts and was given the best available situations. While in office in Sorau, Leipzig, Eisenach, Frankfurt and Hamburg (where he stayed for 46 years) he radically changed and reorganized the musical world in each town, creating collegium musicums, student orchestras of a very high standard, organizing concerts, composing music for all sorts of occasions. During his lifetime, he was often preferred to Bach.
Telemann was also an accomplished businessman, a practical man, who fulfilled the expections of amateur musicians, the numerous Kenner et Liebhaber in German towns. He targeted their needs and wrote sonatas for the rising bourgeoisie (Der Getreue Musikmeister, Essercizii Musici, Methodische Sonaten,…),fairly easy cantata cycles for poor parishes who could not afford musicians capable of writing music for the whole liturgical year(Harmonischer Gottes- Dienst). For accomplished musicians, he composed more difficult instrumental pieces (Quadri et Nouveaux Quatuors, concerti,..), orchestral music, cantatas and operas. He took an interest in everything and this variety can be found in his chamber music using all the instruments of his time, including hunting horns, chalumeaux and even pan pipes !
Telemann played many instruments, some of which he taught himself.
‘The splendid executants I met here and there gave me the desire to play my own instruments better; but I would have got further in that intention had
a powerful urge not prompted me to familiarize myself not only with the clavier, the violin, and the recorder, but also the oboe, the transverse flute, the chalumeau, the gamba, etc. , right down to the double bass and the Quintposaune.’1
Unlike Bach, he was a master neither of the harpsichord nor the violin, but he had, on the other hand, a real talent for matching original tone colours. He had a special liking for the viol, which was then going out of fashion in most of the European courts.
“Give each instrument what suits it best
And the player will perform it with pleasure, and you will enjoy hearing it…”
These lines in his 1718 autobiography sum up all that composes the quality of Telemann’s chamber music. Each part matches its instrument perfectly and he wrote admirable trios and quartets in original combinations at a time when the trio sonata with two treble instruments was still a dominant form. His avant-garde style placed him at the crossroad between baroque and classicism.
Translation Philippe Bolton
1 Translation by Charles Johnston
La Rêveuse was founded by Benjamin Perrot and Florence Bolton and is an ensemble made up of soloist musicians who concentrate on the artistic legacy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which were periods which saw a blossoming of artistic experimentation and inventions of many different kinds.
They are regularly invited to perform in the most prestigious venues (the Auditorium of Radio France, the Folle Journée de Nantes, the Concerts Parisiens, the Abbey of Fontevraud, the Festival of Chambord, the Athénée Theatre, the Radio-France Festival in Montpellier, the Scènes Nationales in Orléans, Blois, Quimper, the TNP in Villeurbanne, etc….) and La Rêveuse also performs regularly abroad (in the United Kingdom, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Japan, Egypt, USA and Canada).
The Ensembles’ recordings (Locke/Purcell, K617 2006 ; Purcell, Mirare 2008 ; Buxtehude Reinken, Mirare 2009 ; Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Mirare 2010 ; Sébastien de Brossard, Mirare 2011 ; Henry Lawes 2013 ; Telemann, Mirare 2015 (fff Telerama) ; Devotional Songs of Purcell, Mirare 2015 (CHOC de Classica, Choix de France Musique) ; Trio sonatas by Buxtehude, Mirare 2017 (CHOC de Classica, Choix de France Musique) have all been highly acclaimed by French and international critics.
With the aim of creating links between different art forms the ensemble often works in the world of theatre and literature, revisiting classical texts. For example in 2004 they created Cyrano de Bergerac’s ‘L’Autre Monde ou les Etats et Empires de la Lune’ with the actor and producer Benjamin Lazar, La Bruyere’s ‘Les Caractères’ in 2005, ‘Les Mille et Une Nuits’, based on Antoine Galland’s 1704 adaptation of the text with Louisa Moaty, and Molière and Lully’s ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme’ with Catherine Hiegel and François Morel in 2011/2012. La Rêveuse also often performs for younger audiences and created ‘Jack et le Haricot Magique’, (‘Jack and the Beanstalk’) in 2016, a puppet show inspired by the illustrations of the artist Walter Crane, which has been a huge success ever since its first performance.
Another initiative during the past few years has been the ensemble’s development of a programme of concert-lectures, juxtaposing the music and paintings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in collaboration with Jean-Philippe Guye, professor of Art and Civilization at the CNSM in Lyon, which is intended for museums and multimedia libraries.
Every year the ensemble participates in educational projects in this field with primary or secondary school children. Their most recent project ‘Les Lettres Persanes revisited’ with immigrant children from schools in Orléans, was among the finalists in the ‘Prix de l’Audace Culturelle et Artistique 2016’.
La Rêveuse also plays an educational role through the creation of the ‘Académie de l’Eté de Seuilly’, an annual summer school for young musicians who wish to become professional players and for experienced amateurs, as well as the ‘Ateliers de Musique Ancienne’ created in Orléans in 2015. In 2017 the ensemble is planning a host of new shared projects, tours and newly created shows, in particular Monsieur de Porceaugnac by Molière and Lully with the Théâtre de l’Eventail (Raphaël de Angelis) at the Cartoucherie de Vincennes in June 2017 ; the creation of ‘L’Heure Verte’ in July 2017 at the Centre Culturel de Rencontre de Noirlac, which is a show about the Cabaret du Chat Noir and the fashion for an interest in history in the late nineteenth century, and which will be produced by Nicolas Vial ; the creation of a seminar and concert programme about the royal chapels of Louis XIV and Charles II of England, in collaboration with the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and the Abbey of Royaumont.
For the beginning of 2018 La Rêveuse is planning a book/CD devoted to two great early eighteenth century artists, Antoine Watteau and Marin Marais, with the collaboration of Florence Gétreau (CNRS), and will also be recording a selection of London sonatas from the age of Purcell with Mirare.
The La Rêveuse Ensemble is supported by the Ministry of Culture (DRAC Centre-Val de Loire) and by the Région Centre-Val de Loire as part of the scheme to aid accredited ensembles, and by the City of Orléans, the Mécénat Société Générale and the Fondation Orange. The ensemble is a member of the FEVIS – The Federation of Specialized Vocal and Instrumental Ensembles and of the Profedim union.