Date of Graduation
Although Georg Philipp Telemann has long been considered one of the most important writers for the recorder, research into this area of his creative output has not been extensive. Taking into account Telemann's own words that he learned to play the recorder in his youth and modern authors' statements that he writes particularly well for the instrument, this dissertation examines his instrumental works using the recorder in order to discover and isolate those features of the style which are especially well suited to the instrument. It became apparent during the course of the study that Telemann not only understood the recorder idiom, but often specifically designed the music to accommodate it. With so much basic bibliographic information on Telemann as yet unpublished, the first task was to establish the repertory. In the process, many modern editions were found to be faulty, with many editors' arrangements of works for other instruments advertised as for the recorder. For the purpose of discovering the recorder idiom as conceived by Telemann, it was important to establish, as nearly as possible, which works were written with the recorder in mind. Fifty-seven instrumental works for the recorder by Telemann were identified and listed in a thematic index included in the dissertation. The elements considered in establishing the recorder idiom are: key, range, preferred tessitura, handling of certain extreme high and low notes, melodic figures such as scales and arpeggios, and dynamics. In each of these areas Telemann shows his understanding of the nature of the recorder. Seventy-five percent of the recorder works are in keys within one flat or sharp of the recorder's "best" key, F major. In the matter of range Telemann exploits all of the notes available on the instrument during the Baroque. The preferred tessitura is the upper part of the total range where the instrument is best heard and the most alternate fingerings are possible. Considering certain difficult notes at either extreme of the range, Telemann often designed the music to minimize the difficulties or even to omit the notes. Certain scales, arpeggios, and other melodic figures which are particularly well suited to the technique of the recorder appear quite frequently, often with reduced accompaniment indicating that Telemann knew well the effect they produce. Even in the case of the rather restricted dynamics available on the recorder, evidence indicates that Telemann understood and used the natural resources of the instrument. The fifty-seven works seem to divide into three basic groups regarding the suitability to the recorder. Careful analysis of the pieces which in the sources list the recorder along with other instruments as performance options demonstrated that many of them were probably not written with the recorder as the preferred instrument. Both the lack of specifically idiomatic features and the presence of many awkward passages in these works support this conclusion. The second group is made up of those pieces which were probably intended for performance on the recorder but make little use of particularly idiomatic features. Many of the works using the recorder within a larger ensemble, such as concertos and suites, are in this category. Finally, there are those compositions which make extensive use of the characteristics established as well suited to the technique of the instrument. Although in modern performance as in the Baroque, many options exist concerning which instruments perform these works, the music is so closely united to the unique capabilities and limitations of the recorder that much of Telemann's genius is missed if they are not performed on the recorder.
Mosser, Thomas Richard, "The Recorder Idiom In The Instrumental Music Of Georg Philipp Telemann." (1975). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9460.