Interesting Facts


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

Paul Dombrecht
Michi Gaigg
Reinhard Goebel
Ludwig Güttler
Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Wolfgang Hirschmann
Felix Koch
Dorothee Oberlinger
Siegfried Pank
Burkhard Schmilgun

Peter Schreier
David Stern


Wolfgang Hirschmann (musicologist)

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

My first encounters with Telemann's music coincided with my studies at the University of Erlangen with Martin Ruhnke, who is an important Telemann researcher and my supervisor since the end of the 1970s. I was immediately taken by his enthusiasm for this composer, who was still completely unrecognized at that time in the FRG, and my first glimpse into Telemann's then well-known works gave this enthusiasm perfectly right: What a great cosmos of fine music!
However, my horizon was significantly extended from the mid-1980s, when I first visited the Magdeburg Telemann Center, the Telemann festivals and the related scientific conferences with great regularity. Here I could meet like-minded people who were much further than the West in regard to the development of Telemann’s oeuvre. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, everything turned out to be the most beautiful, and I benefit from these encounters as a professor, a musician, and generally a thinking and sensitive man.


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

I think, with a few hundred, I would be fine - but only provided that I could smuggle in a few other composers ...

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

The question arises: When could I talk to him? If it were in his time, I would be particularly interested in what he had read, listened to and studied and I would ask him in concrete for some scores (on loan, of course), which we miss today (for example, his gamba fantasies or his operas „Sancio”, „Omphale” and „Die verkehrte Welt” [„The Twisted World”]). Packed like this, I would see that I would soon return to our present. If I could meet Telemann today I would ask him what he has to say to all what has been written about him so far.

What does Telemann have that other’s do not?

An immensely rich and broad musical and intellectual horizon, an extremely fine-minded understanding of poetry and language, an extraordinary wealth of new connections between different musical spheres, a fascinating combination of bienséance and expression.

[Source: Telemann aus Magdeburg. 50 Jahre betont. Program of the Magdeburg Telemann Festival, 9.-18. March 2012, page. 105.]