SEON - RCA Red Seal
2 LPs - RL 30478 - (p) 1983
2 CDs - SB2K 63182 - (c) 1997


Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Sonata in A Major * 9' 48" A1/4

- Adagio (2' 27") · Vivace (2' 57") · Cortesemente (1' 46") · Vivace (2' 38")

Sonata in E Minor **+ 8' 38" A5/8

- Grave (2' 51") · Vivace (2' 14") · Cunando (1' 05") · Vivace (2' 28")

Sonata in B-flat Major ***
9' 17" A9/13

- Largo (2' 39") · Allegro (1' 53") · Dolce (1' 59") · Vivace (1' 55") · Allegro (0' 51")

Sonata in D Minor *
8' 20" B1/5

- Andante (2 '29) · Allegro (1' 51") · Tempo giusto (1' 08") · Vivace (2' 22") · Allegro (0' 30")

Sonata in G Major **++
9' 59" B6/9

- Cantabile (2' 36") · Vivace (3' 08") · Mesto (1' 32") · Spirituoso (2' 42")

Sonata in C Minor ***
8' 38" B10/14

- Allegro (1' 20") · Adagio (1' 31") · Allegro assai (1' 34") · Ondeggiando, ma non adagio (2' 29") · Allegro (1' 44")

Sonata in E Major
10' 27"

- Andante (2' 42") · Allegro (2' 06") · Adagio (0' 41") · Gratioso e semplicimente (1' 42") · Presto (3' 16")

Sonata in B Minor
8' 01"

- Siciliana (1' 55") · Allegro (1' 46") · Dolce, ma non adagio (1' 45") · Grave-Vivace (1' 46") · Presto (1' 01")

Sonata in C Major ***
12' 27" C11/15

- Andante (2' 03") · Allegro (2' 05") · Presto (4' 17") · Dolce (2' 05") · Vivace (1' 57")

Sonata in A Minor *
8' 51" D1/4

- Largo (2' 33") · Allegro (3' 27") · Ondeggiando (1' 10") · Allegro (1' 41")

Sonata in D Major **++
10' 37" D5/8

- Andante (3' 39") · Presto (2' 43") · Con tenerezza (1' 28") · Allegro (2' 47")

Sonata in G Minor ***
7' 40" D9/12

- Adagio (1' 40") · Vivace (2' 16") · Grave (1' 49") · Allegro (1' 55")


- Daniel Stepner, Violin (Sebastian klotz, Mittenwald, c. 1750)
- Laura Jeppesen, Viola da gamba (England?, Anonymous, 17th century, Property of Wieland Kuijken)
- John Gibbons, Harpsichord (Martin Skowroneck, Bremen)

- Frans Brüggen, Transverse flute (Godefroid A. Rottenburgh, Bruxelles, c. 1740, +), Recorder in d' (Frederick Morgan, Melbourne, 1980, ++)

- Anner Bylsma, Violoncello (Matteo Goffriller, Venezia, 1690-1699)
- Gustav Leonhardt, Harpsichord (William Dowd, Paris, 1975)

- Hans de Vries, Oboe (Gottlieb Crone, Leipzig, c. 1735)
- Wouter Möller, Violoncello (Joannes F. Celonatius, Torino, 1742)
- Bob van Asperen, Harpsichord (Rainer Schütze, Heidelberg, 1969)

Luogo e data di registrazione
Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem (Holland) - Gennaio 1981 *
Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem (Holland) - Settembre & Novembre 1982

Registrazione: live / studio

Producer / Recording Supervisor
Wolf Erichson

Recording Engineer

Teije van Geest *, Stephan Schellmann **/***

Prima Edizione LP
Seon (RCA Res Seal) | RL 30478 | 2 LPs - durata 56' 13" - 59' 56" | (p) 1983 | DIIGITAL

Edizione CD
Sony | SB2K 63182 | 2 CDs - durata 56' 13" - 59' 56" | (c) 1997 | DDD

Original Cover

Antonio Domenico Gabbiani (1652-1726), Gruppenbild florentinischer Hofmusiker, Firenze, Palazzo Pitti


Georg Philipp Telemann was in charge of music in the North German city of Hamburg for 46 years. He had moved to this city, one of the chief bastions of the German Enlightenment movement, from Frankfurt, together with his wife and seven children, to take up the post of musical director of the five main churches and cantor of the Johanneum School. He remained there until his death at the age of 86. Coping with expenses in this economically and culturally flourishing community, Telemann probably had many a grumble about the state of his finances at first. A legal wrangle with the civic press about the sale of libretto booklets for his oratorios caused some temporary ill-feeling. However, astute as he obviously was, he seemed to have managed in time to arrange things so well that he could afford not only to refuse the job of cantor at St. Thomas’s, Leipzig, but also decline the “exceptional honour” of being asked to found a German orchestra at the court of St. Petersburg. His comment in the preface to his musical journal “Der getreue Music-Meister” that he lived “in the homeland of music, as it were” was surely not merely flowery baroque rhetoric.
By any normal standard Telemann would have been fully occupied just meeting his numerous and varied obligations as director of church music in the city. However, a cosmopolitan man-of-letters and composer of incredible industry Telemann had wider horizons. A really “polyglott” composer, who even clothed the “barbarian beauty” of Polish and Moravian folkmusic in “Italian robes”, he succeeded in producing innumerable pieces of instrumental music as well as pursuing his civic duties.
Telemann was at the peak of his creativity when in 1728 he published Part I of his “Methodische Sonaten” (“Methodic” Sonatas). That same year he had also begun to issue, as a subscription series, the first German musical journal for the layman, “Der getreue Music-Meister” (“The Faithful Music-Master”). The proverbial busy bee, he even made sure everything was done properly by placing many of the compositions under the copper plates himself. In addition to this, the Hamburg opera house at Gansemarkt was at this time staging his new opera “Die Last-Tragende Liebe oder Emma und Eginhard” (“The Load-Bearing Love, or Emma and Eginhard”): the story of Charlemagne’s daughter, who used to carry her lover out of the castle at night, so that he would leave no footprints in the snow. Another novelty dating from this year was the collection “Sept fois Sept et un Menuet”, published in July. And on April 13th the “Holstein Correspondent” announced that Part I of the “Methodische Sonaten” had been published for the first time and could be obtained from Peter Heuß’s of Hamburg. Part II, the next “episode”, again with six sonatas, this time, however, all consisting of five movements, was published at the end of 1732. In Telemann’s preface to this publication there is a dedication to the brothers Rudolph and Hieronymus Burmester, two highly esteemed Hamburg patricians who enthusiastically devoted their leisure hours to the pursuit of music. These sonatas were the answer to their repeated requests for new pieces to play.
The “Holstein Correspondent” of the 13th of April, 1728, promised that Telemann’s latest sonatas would prove “very useful to those wishing to study the art of melodious ornamentation.” In the “Hamburg Correspondent” of November 30th, 1731, we also find it stated that in Telemann’s sonatas we have “the very first Adagio to be accompanied by ornaments.” A glance at the printed score will tell us what they were referring to. In all twelve sonatas for the slow movements Telemann printed, one above the other, both an undecorated and an embellished version of the melody, aiming to instruct the keen amateur, of whom there were many in those days, as to how a simple melody could be tastefully decorated à la mode - hence the title “Methodic” Sonatas. The fear once expressed by Johann Joachim Quantz, that an adagio movement can be “much mutilated by the inexperienced performer in his effort to extemporize embellishments” may also have prompted Telemann to suggest his own “divisions”. Be that as it may, the performer should on no account feel bound to follow the model slavishly. In our recording, for instance, Telemann’s embellished version has been adopted in the E major Sonata (II,3), in the opening Andante of the D major Sonata (I,4) an understandable compromise has been reached between his two versions, and in the G minor Sonata (I,1) the performers have made up their own decorations.
As was often still customary in those days, Telemann leaves the choice of melody instrument in his twelve “Methodic” Sonatas to the performers (violin and flute being interchangeable). However, on account of certain figurations and melodic treatment specifically characteristic of the violin and flute respectively, Max Seiffert in the preface to his new edition of these sonatas allots the A minor Sonata (I,5) to the violin and the E minor Sonata (I,3) to the flute. It would appear that on occasion Telemann, who was indeed extremely sensitive to the idioms of the then rapidly maturing instruments, did have a specific string or wind instrument in mind. In our recording we have shared the solo parts between violin, oboe, flute and recorder.
With compositions “in chamber style” like the Paris Quartets, the “Nouveaux Quatuors”, Telemann gained, according to his own words, “within the shortest space of time almost universal estem... accompanied by overwhelming displays of courtesy.” His “Methodic” Sonatas were apparently less successful from this point of view. Nevertheless, the twelve sonatas are not only a valuable document as regards performing practices of the late-Baroque era, but they also give the modern music-lover an excellent insight into the nature of domestic music-making in the average middle-class family of the day (the “Sept fois Sept et un Menuet”, dedicated to the Hamburg-Harburg merchant Andreas Plumejon is another interesting collection in this respect).
Hans Christoph Worbs
English translation by Avril Watts