The first time I noticed Telemann was when I played one of his toccatas.
It was fun to play and even then, when I was fairly unsophisticated about serious music, I noticed that he was different from other Baroque composers. Something about the guy. His sound was unusual, even playful. Witty, if I dare to apply words to qualities in wordless music.
Telemann isn’t played that often in concert halls, I’m sorry to say. But I do have a couple of CDs and whenever I require some sprightliness in my life, I’ll put him on.
When I moved from the Village to uptown, I had to change my everything package from Time Warner to Fios. I discovered that my current audio set up does not get me QXR with any reliable sound quality. Since I generally keep QXR on all day–switching to rock when I’m writing–I was perturbed.
Until the FIOS guy showed me that on TV channel 1848, I could get serious music.
To my pleasure, 1848 does not have commercials, does not have DJ’s or anyone talking. It just has music. One thing right after the other (sometimes I could use a bit longer pause). And the repertory is outstanding. (Indeed, so outstanding I’m still hearing the works of composers I have never heard of.)
But as serious as the music is, what goes on up on the TV screen purporting to be interesting information is strange. Right now, for instance, a Brandenburg is playing. Up in the corner it says “Did You Know?” and it tells me that Bach had two operations on his eyes in one year.
Doesn’t have much to do with the music, does it? So, no, whoever you are who produces this channel, I didn’t know and honestly I didn’t care.
The other day, though, Telemann was playing, so I turned around to confirm it was Telemann and I saw, under “Did You Know?” that Telemann once accepted a post with…the Barefoot Friars.
I got such a kick out of that–ooh, pun unintended, and anyhow I’m not barefoot at the moment–I had to share it with you.
Just to confirm the facts, I found AllMusic, a website, Georg Philipp Telemann | Biography & History | AllMusic, which did confirm the Barefoot Friars gig.
It also gave me this tidbit, equally Telemannish, and equally delightful:
The youth showed remarkable talent in music, but was temporarily discouraged in his chosen pursuit by Puritan Lutherans, who told Telemann‘s mother that he would turn out no better than “a clown, a tightrope walker or a marmot-trainer.”