Musical Club of Hartford

Tempesta di Mare Chamber Players - Oct 25, 2018

The Musical Club of Hartford is so fortunate to be hosting these incredible musicians, including Adam Pearl on harpsichord; the current President of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, Lisa Terry, on viola da gamba; Richard Stone on theorbo; Hartford's own Emlyn Ngai on violin; and Gwyn Roberts on flute and recorder.

This group of five musicians is part of the Tempesta di Mare Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra. They will perform a program of Baroque chamber music gems centering around works composed by Georg Phillip Telemann during his eight-month sojourn in Paris in 1737. These will include Telemann’s Concerto No. 1 in G major (TWV 43:G1), Quatuor in G Major (TWV 43:G4) and Quatuor in A minor (TWV 43:a 2). Music by Telemann’s Parisian friends and fellow composers Jean-Baptiste Forqueray (Chaconne from Suite N. 3 in D Major), Michel Blavet (Sonata in E minor, Opus 3 No. 3), and Jean-Pierre Guignon (Sonata in C minor, Opus 1 No. 9) will round out the program.

style="margin-bottom: 0in">Concerto 2 in D Major, TWV 43:D1 (pub. 1730) Georg Philipp Telemann


Allegro — Affettuoso — Vivace



from Suite No. 3 in D Major (pub. 1747) Jean-Baptiste Forqueray


La Du Vaucel: très tendrement



Sonata in E minor, Op. 3 No. 3 (pub. 1740) Michel Blavet


Vivace — Largo poco andante — Allegro




from Sonata in C minor, Op. 1 No. 9 (pub. 1737) Jean-Pierre Guignon


Andante — Allegro




Quatuor in G Major, TWV 43:G4 (pub. 1738 ) Telemann


Prélude. Un peu vivement — Légèrement — Gracieusement — Vite

Modéré — Gai— Lentement / Vite


Quatuor in A minor, TWV 43:a2 (pub. 1738 ) Telemann

Allégrement — Flatteusement — Légèrement — Un peu vivement — Vite — Coulant



Holiday in Paris


In 1737, Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767) finally fulfilled a lifelong dream of traveling to Paris. He had a long-standing invitation from some fine French musicians, his gambling and cheating second wife was finally out of the picture, and he wanted to do something about the unauthorized publications of his compositions that had been appearing there. So, that fall, he took an extended leave from his position as Director of Music for the City of Hamburg and went to France, where he stayed for eight months.


Telemann seems to have enjoyed himself enormously during his visit, playing music with the local musicians, attending concerts at the Concert Spirituel, composing, and hobnobbing. He also obtained a 20-year royal publishing privilege and immediately published two collections of music, including his famous “Paris Quartets,” officially titled Nouveaux Quatuors.


In his 1740 autobiography, Telemann names the musicians who premiered the Nouveaux Quatuors: Michel Blavet, flutist; Jean-Pierre Guignon, violinist; Jean-Baptiste Forqueray, gambist; and a Mr. Edouard, cellist, whose full identity has not been firmly established. Telemann himself presumably played the harpsichord. He described their performance thus:


The marvelous way in which these quartets were played deserves mention here, if indeed words can convey any impression. Suffice it to say that the Court and the whole city pricked up their ears most remarkably, and these quartets quickly won for me an almost universal respect which was accompanied with exceeding courtesy.


Paris in 1737 was no longer the controlled artistic environment that it had been during the reign of Louis XIV. The musical style of the times was decidedly international. Italianate elements of instrumental virtuosity and free-form composition rubbing cheeks with the traditional French agréments (ornaments) and dance-based forms. Ever the style-chameleon, Telemann absorbed this heady brew and added his own panache, producing some of his finest works and, in turn, influencing French composers to imitate him.


Telemann’s Concerto No. 1 in G major, TWV 43:G1 is the first work in his Quadri, a set of six conversational and virtuosic quartets for the distinctive ensemble of flute, violin, obbligato viola da gamba or cello, and continuo, which he originally published in Hamburg in 1730. The set was printed in Paris in 1736 by Charles-Nicolas LeClerc without Telemann’s permission—one of at least seven such pirate editions by that publisher—so it was already well known there by the time that Telemann arrived.


Jean-Baptiste Forqueray (1699-1742) was the son of viol virtuoso Antoine Forqueray. He learned to play from his father, who eventually became so jealous of his son’s abilities that he had him sent to prison and banished from the country. Some influential students pulled strings to get the sentence revoked, and Jean-Baptiste returned to Paris in 1726, taking his father’s job at court in 1742. He published his Pièces de viole in 1747, attributing much of the work to his father, a claim that makes little sense given the extremely modern character of the music. The set appeared simultaneously in an idiomatic arrangement for harpsichord, possibly created by Mme. Forqueray, Jean-Baptiste’s wife, who was a noted harpsichord virtuoso.


Michel Blavet (1700-1768) was a self-taught flutist and bassoonist who rose quickly to the highest ranks of Parisian musicians after making his debut at the Concert Spirituel at the age of 26. He appeared more frequently on that stage than any other musician over the course of the next 25 years, setting the standard for flute playing and garnering international reknown. He seems also to have been a really nice guy. Contemporary accounts refer to his long and happy marriage, his love of teaching, and his convivial personality. Blavet’s Opus 3 Sonatas are written in the modern galant style, with plenty of italianate virtuosity intermingled with French-style ornaments.


Jean-Pierre Guignon (1702-1744) was born Giovanni Pietro Ghignone in Turin. He made his debut in Paris at the Concert Spirituel in 1725, just one year before Blavet, and soon teamed up with Forqueray for a series of concerts. He was lauded as one of the finest virtuosos of his time. However, in contrast to the affable Blavet, Guignon seems to have been a contentious character, who assaulted another musician, lorded his prestigious position at court over his colleagues, brought frequent lawsuits, and stayed married to his wife for less than a year. This sonata comes from a set published in the year of Telemann’s visit.


Telemann’s Quatuor in G Major, TWV 43:G4 and Quatuor in A minor, TWV 43:a 2 are the second and third suites from the Nouveaux Quatuors. He used the same instrumentation for this set of quartets as he had for his earlier Quadri, making significant demands on the virtuoso players he assembled in Paris to play them. In keeping with the context in which he wrote them, Telemann titled all of the movements in French for this collection and wrote them in the Italianate-French style. He also drew a very specific musical inspiration from his environment for this quartet: the theme for the set of variations that concludes the A Minor quartet comes from a gavotte by Rameau, published in a set of harpsichord solos in 1728.