CD Release Celebration

Friday, October 29 • 8:00, First Parish, Sudbury
Saturday, October 30 • 8:00, Faneuil Hall, Boston

Quartet in F Major for flute, violin, viola, and continuo, TWV 43: F1     Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
  Adagio • Allegro • Adagio • Allegro  

Concertino à 4 for flute, violin, violoncello, and continuo    Johann Melchior Molter (1696-1765)
    [Moderato]  • [Allegro] • [Menuetto]   

Quartet in D Major for two traversos, violin, and continuo     Sebastian Bodinus (c1700-1759)
        (from Musikalischen Divertissiments, vol. 6, no. 1)       
  Allegro • Adagio • Allegro    


Sonata in G Major for flute, violin, viola, and continuo, FWV N: G1    Johann Friedrich Fasch
      Andante • Allegro • Affetuoso • Allegro    (1688-1758)

Trio Sonata in E Minor for two traversos and continuo, QV 2:22     Johann Joachim Quantz  (1697-1773)
  Adagio • Allegro • Largo • Presto  

Quartet in G Major for flute, violin, viola, and continuo, TWV 43: G5     Telemann
  Adagio • Allegro • Adagio • Allegro

Suzanne Stumpf, traverso; Julia McKenzie, violin
Marcia Cassidy, viola; Daniel Ryan, cello
Michael Bahmann, harpsichord
with guest artist Wendy Rolfe, traverso

Program Notes

The composers represented on this program flourished in regions of Germany that had a reputation  in the 17th and 18th centuries of being home to an unusually high number of fine composers. Located in the central-eastern part of the country and known today as the regions of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia, this area of Germany was the training-ground of J. S. Bach, Handel, Telemann, and a host of other talented composers who occupied the many Capellmeister and Cantor positions of the area’s flourishing court and church music establishments. This program presents chamber music by Telemann, Fasch, Molter, Bodinus, and Quantz, who were some of the finest composers to have been born and educated in this fertile region.

Though not a familiar name today, Johann Friedrich Fasch was well-known and respected throughout Germany as a versatile and innovative composer in his day. His early career parallels that of his friend Georg PhilippTelemann. Both attended the University of Leipzig, and each directed Collegia Musica in that city. They were initially self-taught composers, both turned down offers for the post of Cantor at the Thomasschule (a position J. S. Bach later accepted), and each worked at several smaller courts before becoming established in their respective cities. In Fasch’s case, this was the city of Zerbst where he found his niche as court Capellmeister and remained for 36 years.

Fasch was a prolific composer of vocal and instrumental music of high quality which was disseminated widely during his lifetime. His instrumental compositions show great originality, not only structurally, but in their use of wind instruments. The sonata presented on this program is scored for flute, two recorders, and continuo, with an alternative designation of strings in place of the recorders. Fasch treats these paired recorders or strings as a unit, with movement largely in parallel thirds, creating a sonorous foil to the virtuosic flute writing.

Of all the composers presented on this program, Johann Melchior Molter was the most well traveled, having undertaken two trips to Italy for study. Born in the town of Tiefenort in Thuringia, Molter attended the same school in Eisenach where J. S. Bach had studied. Molter established himself in Karlsruhe in the Baden-Württemberg region in the south. There he directed a sizeable ensemble of instrumentalists and singers. One of Molter’s chief interests, and an important attraction of his music, is in his use of unusual instruments and instrumental combinations. The concertino presented on this program was originally written for flute, treble and bass viols, and continuo. It is a charming work which amply shows his melodic gifts and attention to color and sonority.

Sebastian Bodinus was a colleague of Molter’s at the court in Karlsruhe, where he performed as a violinist. Bodinus published six quartets around 1726 in two volumes as part of a larger multi-volume set entitled Musikalischen Divertissiments. In the quartet presented on this program, Bodinus uses the unusual combination of paired flutes, a single violin, and continuo, rather than the more customary pairing of violins. In his use of unusual instrumentations and in his incorporation of the concerto principle in his chamber works, Bodinus may well have been influenced by friend and collegue Molter.

Johann Joachim Quantz began his musical career as a town musician in Pirna, near Dresden in Saxony, and at the age of 21, he entered the service of August the Strong in Dresden, performing in the court orchestra with the virtuoso French flutist Pierre Gabriel Buffardin. In 1741, Quantz became the flute teacher and flute maker for King Frederick the Great of Prussia, for whom he composed hundreds of sonatas and concertos. Quantz’s trio sonatas date from his earlier time in Dresden and were written during a time when the transverse flute was a relatively new instrument in Germany. The present work shows Quantz’s considerable command of the contrapuntal language of the trio sonata, a mode of composition less frequently encountered in his later works.

While all of the composers represented on this program wrote quartets, Georg Philipp Telemann was by far the most well-known exponent of the quartet genre. Quantz singled out his quartets as providing “excellent and beautiful examples of compositions of this type.” Indeed, Telemann was probably the most prolific quartet composer of his generation, with over 65 compositions for a variety of instrumental combinations. His most well-known quartets for flute, violin, viola da gamba, and continuo (now referred to as the Paris Quartets), composed for performance at the Concerts Spirituels in Paris, garnered him much fame in his lifetime. In 1752, the firm of LeClerc et Boivin issued his fourth set of quartets, scored for flute, violin, viola, and continuo. In using the viola instead of the viola da gamba, Telemann took advantage of many textural and compositional devices afforded by the range and timbre of the viola. Whereas in the Paris Quartets the viola da gamba functions alternately as an alto voice and as an ornamented bass line, in the two quartets selected for these preformances from the 1752 set the viola fully participates in the conversational interplay with the treble instruments. This is particularly evident in the fiery and witty fugal second movements of each of his quartets and in the austere, polyphonic first movement of the G Major quartet.

© Daniel Ryan and Suzanne Stumpf