Saturday, 5 November 2016


“Certain voices hold this odd pull on our heartstrings. They are like sad oboes or something, something that makes you want to throw all your money at the radio while yelling, ‘I love you.’ I don’t know what it is.” - Jonathan Goldstein

Georg Philipp Telemann, (born March 14, 1681, Magdeburg, Brandenburg Germany—died June 25, 1767, Hamburg) was a German composer of the late Baroque period, who wrote both sacred and secular music but was most admired for his church compositions, which ranged from small cantatas to large-scale works for soloists, chorus, and orchestra.

Telemann was the son of a Protestant minister and was given a good general education but never actually received music lessons. Though he showed great musical gifts at an early age, he was discouraged by his family from becoming a professional musician, at that time neither an attractive nor a remunerative occupation. By self-teaching, however, he acquired great facility in composing and in playing such diverse musical instruments as the violin, recorder, oboe, viola da gamba, chalumeau, and clavier.

At the University of Leipzig, he enrolled as a law student, however, music attracted him more and he founded the University Collegium Musicum and was the city council’s preferred candidate for the position of Thomascantor in 1723, when Bach was eventually appointed. Telemann had established himself in Hamburg in 1721 as Cantor of the Johanneum and director of music for the five principal city churches. He remained in Hamburg until his death in 1767, when he was succeeded by his godson, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, son of Johann Sebastian Bach. In his long career Telemann wrote a great deal of music of all kinds in a style that extends the late Baroque into the age of Haydn.

Telemann’s long life ended at the age 86 in 1767. Georg Philipp Telemann was considered the most important German composer of his day and his reputation outlasted him for some time, but ultimately it was unable to withstand the shadow cast by the growing popularity of his contemporary, Johann Sebastian Bach. Telemann’s enormous output, perhaps the largest of any classical composer in history, includes parts of at least 31 cantata cycles, many operas, concertos, oratorios, songs, music for civic occasions and church services, passion, orchestral suites and abundant amounts of chamber music.

While many of these works have been lost, most still exist, and the sheer bulk of his creativity has made it difficult for scholars and performers alike to come to terms with. The inevitable revival of interest in Telemann did not arrive until the 1920s, but has grown exponentially ever since, and with the twenty first century in full swing more of Telemann’s music is played, known, understood and studied than at any time in history.

Here are some of his Oboe Concerti played by Heinz Holliger and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, directed by Iona Brown.
1. Concerto in E minor 0:00
2. Concerto in D minor 11:32
3. Concerto in C minor 20:19
4. Concerto in F minor 29:40
5. Concerto in D major 37:26


  1. I was delighted with your comment about the "revival of interest" in the composer. How many times have we seen a musician or artist who was successful during his lifetime, died and faded into obscurity, then came to fame for a second time 150 years or more later.

    Hels and Joseph

  2. Thank you for sharing this amazing composer. I did enjoy listening to the concertos it took me to another time and space through music.