Interesting Facts


Prominent artistic personalities comment on their personal relationship to Georg Philipp Telemann.


Burkhard Schmilgun (producer)

Do you remember your first encounter with Telemann’s music or do you associate a special experience with it?

We all know that our long-term memory works very selectively: significant moments remain. My first encounter with Telemann seems to be such a moment.
It must have been in the 60's, when there was anything as beautiful as the school radio in the (then) West German radio. Being a student you could only listen to it when you had not been at school: mainly when you stayed sick at home.
They had some awesome radio plays on all kinds of topics.
I was mostly interested in the crime stories of the music history. Someday: Georg Philip Telemann in an argument with Pantaleon Hebestreit. Both names had such a fascination on the 10 year old boy. However, it was Telemann’s music which was played – it was the B-major overture from the 3rd part of the „Tafelmusik”. I was dazzled. The first records that I wished for: all Telemann.
In our local music library in Bielefeld there was a huge record collection and soundproof boxes where you could listen to them: I have listened to all the available Telemann records repeatedly up and down: It now seems strange for a 10-15 year old boy! But it did not do any harm – as you can see.


Which Telemann composition(s) would you take with you to the legendary desert island?

1. The whole „Tafelmusik“, but at least the great A major double concerto (flute, violin) from the first part; 2. The great oratorio „Der Tag des Gerichts” („The Day of Jugdement”); 3. the „Ino” cantata which opens the door to classicism; 4.
The passion oratorio „Der Tod Jesu” („The Death of Jesu”), 5. The concerts for wind instruments with Michael Schneider published on the cpo complete recording.

What would you like to talk about with Telemann over a glass of wine?

Let’s suppose the conversation would take place in 1755: For a man so well-educated and interested in everything the talk would certainly go around “God and the World”. However, I would particularly be interested in his relationship to Johann Sebastian Bach. What did he know, e.g. of his compositions? Did he know something of the passions or cantatas? In his obituary on Bach he only mentions the brilliant organist … On the other hand: had he ever heard of Johann Stamitz or even Haydn …?

What does Telemann have that others don’t?

On the other hand he can write funeral music tangent and touching like no other (e.g., initial chorus of the funeral music for mayor Sillem). Generally speaking: No one can write so cheerful and in the best sense entertaining music in minor key (Just pay attention next time you listen to it.).

[Source: Telemann aus Magdeburg. 50 Jahre betont. Program of the Magdeburg Telemann Festival, 9.-18. March 2012, page. 145.]