Georg Philipp Telemann: A Prolific, Well Liked Baroque Composer

There were two Georg Telemanns: Georg Phillipp and Georg Michael, who was his lesser known grandson.

Georg Philipp Telemann, who is featured in this post, was born in 1681 in what now is Germany. He was a composer of Baroque music who played many instruments. Telemann entered the world of music against his family’s wishes.

But once he began his musical career, he didn’t stop. Telemann was, according to the profile at Wikipedia, “one of the most prolific composers in history” and was favorably compared to George Frideric Handel and to Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach must not have felt a sense of competition: He made Telemann the Godfather of one of his children.

At the end of the long profile, Wikipedia notes that Telemann set an early precedent by pursuing exclusive rights for the publication of his work.

A baroque music site – its name is not clear – describes in another long essay precisely what Telemann did. He excelled in the orchestral suite. That is described as the “Ouverture” and the dance movements that follow. Telemann was said by a contemporary critic to have been responsible for the growth of this form in Germany. It originated with the French, the critic said, but Telemann surpassed them in his execution. Orchestral suites apparently were only one type of music he composed.

On a more human level, the profile says that Telemann’s rise to wealth and fame were partly due to a very good sense of humor and a likable personality.

Above is the Flute Sonata in G Major. Marta Femenía is the flutist and Nikolay Shalamov is the pianist. Below is the Concerto for 3 Violins F Major. The violinists are Dmitry Sinkovsky, Riccardo Minasi and Alina Pogostkina.

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