A prolific composer

The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra pays homage to Telemann

November 22, 2017 18:42
2 minute read.
A prolific composer

. (photo credit: YOSSI ZWECKER)


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In the first week of December in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra will present a program dedicated to the vocal and instrumental music of Georg Philipp Telemann. With these concerts, the orchestra will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. The program features concerti and cantatas performed by fine Israeli musicians as soloists.

Idit Shemer, JBO veteran flute player and teacher, says “Telemann is regarded as the most prolific composer. He is listed as such in The Guinness Book of World Records. His music is full of humor and joie de vivre; but above all, he never fails to surprise – and I know hundreds of his pieces. For example, he wrote scores of duos for flutes. As a teacher, I often give them to my students. They are amazing in their richness – virtuosity and lyricism, intriguing counterpoints, beautiful melodies and, yes, democracy. Because not only in duets but also in more complicated pieces, he generously composed equally interesting parts for several instruments.”

Shemer recounts that three years ago in a music shop in Berlin, she came across scores for nine flute sonatas that were unfamiliar to her.

“I was surprised. How could it be? It turns out that after WW II, when Berlin was heavily damaged, those scores, together with many others, were taken from the local music archive to Moscow and were only recently returned to Germany. Nobody knew about them before. So for me, Telemann is a living composer who keeps writing wonderful music,” she says.

“He created things that seem impossible, such as composing a three-voiced fugue for a flute solo.

And his pieces sit perfectly on instruments. Not only I as flutist say it, but other musicians share this opinion as well. As a result, his music is performed without unnecessary effort,” she marvels.

Great composer as he was, Telemann stood firmly with his two feet on the ground.

“Telemann really knew how to manage his business. He never published his pieces in their entirety but rather in separate movements, like one movement a week. So to perform the piece, one needed to buy one fascicule [individual part] after another. A probable explanation of his being such a prolific composers is that he paid his wife’s debts – even after they were divorced. Anyway, his life story is surrounded by numerous anecdotes,” says Shemer.

The concert program features less familiar oratorios by Telemann, “which is not that difficult, since there are many,” adds Shemer who, in addition to several small parts in oratorios, will perform his famous concerto for flute and recorder with Drora Bruck.

“It is a marvelous, colorful piece, with happiness written all over it,” she says.

The soloists in the concerts are soprano Adaya Peled; alto Avital Dery; tenor Hillel Sherman; baritone Guy Pelc; recorder Drora Bruck; flute and recorder Idit Shemer; and violinists Noam Schuss, Dafna Ravid and Rachel Ringelstein. David Shemer conducts.

The concerts take place December 2 at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Church in Haifa; December 5 at 8 p.m. at Zucker Hall, Heichal Hatarbut, Tel Aviv; and December 6 at 8 p.m. at the International YMCA in Jerusalem. For reservations: (02) 671-5888; cartis.jbo.co.il. Haifa: (04) 836-3804

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