As much celebrated throughout Europe as solicited by the city of Hamburg (his employer), Georg Philipp Telemann managed however to obtain a long leave in 1737 to go to Paris, capital where his works are appreciated, performed, edited, and imitated. He offers flautist Blavet and gambist Forqueray fils (very active at the Spiritual Concert) a new series of six quartet sonatas which carries on a well-known previous series. Among the 237 subscribers of the work is a certain “Mr. Bach from Leipzig”, unknown in France, but a great friend of Telemann. His Parisian hosts play the flute, the violin and the viola da gamba; Telemann sits at the harpsichord.
In these quartets, the part of viola da gamba is not a simple continuo but a real solo part, heartily virtuoso: flute, violin and viol discuss on an equal footing. And Telemann composes in all European styles: Italian lightness, German rigor, but also and above all… French charm. The result is not lacking in panache!
His apparent simplicity and melodic seduction go straight to the heart and conceal a supreme writing skill.
Bach organ sonatas are trios that require a single musician when played on two keyboards and pedal, but they can be adapted to the four partners of the trio sonata, two of them taking care of the line bass (it is only at the end of the eighteenth century that the designations of “trio” or “quartet” will refer to the number of instruments required and no longer to the polyphonic structure of the composition). Such a transcription is far from unusual in Bach’s music; the composer does not hesitate to entrust his melodic lines to various sound combinations.
Bach and Telemann were friends. They are gathered for this concert.
J.S. Bach – trio sonatas and transcriptions
G.P. Telemann – quartets and new parisian quartets