Donate now to support your one-stop classical music destination

Your contribution powers the wonder of classical music
Donate

Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Thursday, June 25

Telemann makes the record

Synopsis

In the Guiness Book of Music Facts and Feats, the record for "Most Prolific Composer" goes to Georg Philip Telemann, who died on today's date in 1767 at the age of 86. And longevity gave an edge to productivity: Telemann outlived his prolific contemporary, J.S. Bach, by 21 years, and outlived Handel by 12.

But even considering the extra years he lived, Telemann's output is staggering. Of Bach's cantatas, some 200 or so survive, but Telemann's number 1400. He also wrote 125 orchestral suites, 125 concertos, 130 trios, 145 pieces for solo keyboard, and about 50 operas.

Most composers (if they are lucky), publish one autobiography; Telemann published three, and commented in one of them, "How is it possible for me to remember everything I wrote for violin and winds?" Sometimes, in addition to composing original music, Telemann was also asked to perform it: "A few days before I play a violin concerto," he wrote, "I always locked myself away, fiddle in hand, shirt-sleeves rolled up, with something strong to calm the nerves, and practice."

Fortunately, Telemann seemed to find musical inspiration everywhere, including from the pop and folk music of his day. As he put it, "One would scarcely believe what wonderful ideas pipers and fiddlers have when they improvise while dancers pause for breath. An observer could easily gather enough ideas from them in eight days to last a lifetime!"

Music Played in Today's Program

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 - 1767) Violin Concerto in A (The Frog) Pavlo Beznosiuk, violin; New London Consort; Philip Pickett, cond. London 455 621

Additional Information

{"airdates":[{"id":26613,"date":"2020-06-25","listen":"apm-audio:/composers_datebook/2020/06/25/datebook_20200625_128.mp3","updated_at":"2019-07-01T16:08:02.000Z","episode":{"id":7947,"synopsis":"Telemann makes the record","additional":null,"body":"In the Guiness Book of Music Facts and Feats, the record for \"Most Prolific Composer\" goes to Georg Philip Telemann, who died on today's date in 1767 at the age of 86. And longevity gave an edge to productivity: Telemann outlived his prolific contemporary, J.S. Bach, by 21 years, and outlived Handel by 12.\n\nBut even considering the extra years he lived, Telemann's output is staggering. Of Bach's cantatas, some 200 or so survive, but Telemann's number 1400. He also wrote 125 orchestral suites, 125 concertos, 130 trios, 145 pieces for solo keyboard, and about 50 operas.\n\nMost composers (if they are lucky), publish one autobiography; Telemann published three, and commented in one of them, \"How is it possible for me to remember everything I wrote for violin and winds?\" Sometimes, in addition to composing original music, Telemann was also asked to perform it: \"A few days before I play a violin concerto,\" he wrote, \"I always locked myself away, fiddle in hand, shirt-sleeves rolled up, with something strong to calm the nerves, and practice.\"\n\nFortunately, Telemann seemed to find musical inspiration everywhere, including from the pop and folk music of his day. As he put it, \"One would scarcely believe what wonderful ideas pipers and fiddlers have when they improvise while dancers pause for breath. An observer could easily gather enough ideas from them in eight days to last a lifetime!\"\n","playdate":"1972-06-25","pieces":[{"composer":"Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 - 1767)","title":"Violin Concerto in A (The Frog)","performer":"Pavlo Beznosiuk, violin; New London Consort; Philip Pickett, cond.","catalog":"London 455 621"}],"links":[{"title":"On Telemann","href":"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Philipp_Telemann"}],"airdates":[{"id":18272,"date":"2014-06-25","listen":"apm-audio:/composers_datebook/2014/06/25/datebook_20140625_128.mp3"},{"id":19002,"date":"2012-06-25","listen":"apm-audio:/composers_datebook/2012/06/25/datebook_20120625_128.mp3"},{"id":19368,"date":"2011-06-25","listen":"apm-audio:/composers_datebook/2011/06/25/datebook_20110625_128.mp3"},{"id":21194,"date":"2006-06-25","listen":"apm-audio:/composers_datebook/2006/06/25/datebook_20060625_128.mp3"},{"id":22290,"date":"2003-06-25","listen":"apm-audio:/composers_datebook/2003/06/25/datebook_20030625_128.mp3"},{"id":24209,"date":"2017-06-25","listen":"apm-audio:/composers_datebook/2017/06/25/datebook_20170625_128.mp3"},{"id":26613,"date":"2020-06-25","listen":"apm-audio:/composers_datebook/2020/06/25/datebook_20200625_128.mp3"}]}}],"meta":{"start_date":"2020-06-25","end_date":"2020-06-25"}}

Before you go...

Each day, John gladly shares his passion for music with you. The knowledge that he offers, and the stories he shares through Composers Datebook is made possible with your support. Please, take 2 minutes and make a gift today for your 2 minutes of daily music knowledge.