What can one do with the seemingly inexhaustible output of Telemann, beyond perhaps sitting back and enjoying its good humour and melodic fecundity? The conceit behind this little-recorded set of chamber music, first published in Hamburg on 19 June 1734, is the quotidian matter of the days of the week: seven suites, each of seven movements, most of the movements hardly exceeding a couple of minutes, alternating slow ariettas with quick contrapuntal or dance-based pieces, all of which betray an Italian influence on their instrumentation and sunny character.
A perfect example of Gebrauchsmusik, the Scherzi were written to entertain the afternoon guests to the Spa of Bad Pyrmont, and Telemann’s memoirs as well as his dedication to Karl August Friedrich, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont, on the works’ title page, confirm that he was a regular visitor to this resort. As had been the case for Tafelmusik (1733), perhaps as a means emphasising the character and purpose of the music, Telemann favours the suite form over the four-movement Corellian sonata da chiesa form, which was common in instrumental music at the time. This allowed him to compose with much more freedom of expression, to introduce less clearly defined musical forms and to use elements from folk music, leading to some surprising cadences amid the generally unruffled good humour of the whole set.
Ensemble Symposium is an Italian band which uses instruments authentic to the time of composition according to the principles of historically-informed performance.
Recorded in 2013
- Georg Philipp Telemann was one of the most famous and respected composers of the Baroque, considered in his time on equal level with his contemporaries Handel and Bach. He is also one of the most prolific composers of all time, excelling in almost every genre. The most astonishing in this is the uniform high quality of his music, always fresh, inventive, and extremely well crafted.
- Telemann wrote music for many occasions, so called ‘Gebrauchsmusik’. His Scherzi Melodichi were written for the entertainment of the guests of the Spa Bad Pyrmont. Each of the 7 suites, consisting of 7 dance-like movements, is named after a day of the week, each day its own suite. The style is witty and good humoured, aimed at lifting the mood of the possibly bored-to-death audience in the Spa.
- The Ensemble Symposium plays with zest and good spirit, using period instruments.
- Detailed booklet notes.