City Network


Telemann about Pszczyna
"When the court moved to Plesse, an Upper-Silesian area which the Promnitz family governed, I became acquainted there and also in Krakau with Polish and Moravian music in its true, barbaric beauty. In the common inns of the region, the instruments consisted of a violin which was strapped to the body, tuned a third higher than usual, and which could ‘outscream’ [play with a louder, shriller sound] a normal violin, a Polish bagpipe, a bass trombone and a portative. In fancier inns a portative would not be used, but the first two [Polish violins and bagpipes] were increased in number. I had once heard 36 bagpipes and 8 Polish violins playing together. It is impossible to imagine the fantastic musical ideas they presented between dances when the dancers rested and the musicians improvised music together [‘jammed’] to fill out the time. Anyone who paid very close attention could pick up in 8 days sufficient musical ideas to last a lifetime. In short, in this music there is much that is good if you know how to work with this material properly. Later I had composed various concerti and trios in this manner in which I featured a solo Italian bagpipe with alternating adagio and allegro sections."