Telemann’s Quatuor en ré mineur | Juilliard William Christie Historical Performance Master Class


WILLIAM CHRISTIE: The next piece is kind of
a “la piece de resistance,” as the French say. It’s a big piece. We’ll have participants give us a few details about this piece of Tafelmusik of Georg Philipp Telemann. Now this piece is called a quartet in a famous set of published music
by Georg Philipp Telemann, Tafelmusik, which essentially just means musique
de table and curiously enough he when he published this piece after it was
engraved it didn’t it wasn’t announced in German, it was announced in French…
musique de table now this doesn’t really mean much in French believe it or not
and I think have a feeling that there were a number of French people living in
the 1740’s and 50’s who took a look at this and said, “What is musique de table?” “You can’t eat it, but what
can you do with a table?” Well, essentially it’s [speaks in a foreign language]. It’s music that people would get
together in a house that’s the most important thing…it’s amateur
music of the highest quality. Did he sell copy? He sure did…in fact there are copies
of the Tafelmusik…musique de table that you find in France. I think it was someone like Michel
Blavet I’m pretty sure who actually subscribed and it was expensive
piece of a musical…publication it goes off to Catherine the Great of Russia, it goes off to Handel who was
a close friend of Telemann. I see one, two, three, four,
five, six players for essentially something called a quartet, which is
not even a quartet it’s a trio with [Speaking in a foreign language], but it’s called a quartet, which means that essentially that there are four independent lines, okay? Yeah. How are we going to divide all this up? You’ve made an orchestration. Yes? GEORGEANNE BANKER: [inaudible] then we have the two flutes, then we have our textural group… CHRISTIE: Telemann would be sort of impressed because essentially this could have been done with fewer people, couldn’t it? Pretty well in fact…I recorded it years ago. Now who’s going to talk to me about him? This lovely lady was a part
of our academy this summer. So, yeah, like as you were saying
he published this in 1733. BANKER: You see the list of people that subscribe to this, which includes I guess
as you were saying Handel and… it’s really cool to see you know the different parts that are there now the
the girls who played the inguinal I had a facsimile of the… CHRISTIE: Ah good good girl
this brings up the very important question of what edition are we using
you see and I thought well I’ll give them sort of five out of 10 because I I
was just given the modern the modern addition you would have gotten ten out
of ten had you know just yeah Yeah, now continue. BANKER: Okay, so Telemannn
also if you his autobiography, he wrote there’s a few different
iterations of it but it’s also online and it’s very funny he wrote two weeks
yes yeah if you have a chance to it’s very entertaining kind of going through
his whole life has his mom not wanting him to be a musician and then he goes
away to school and then he just can’t keep away from music yes it’s a
reoccurring problem so he also was famous for sort of reviving the Coligny
music and it had been around before and he kind of was credited for reviving it
before he moved to Sorna which is in present-day Poland where he kind of
famously would love to listen to other folk music jams of like 36 bagpipes and
a violin or something like that and he said you can get like a wealth of
melodies out of just listening to these guys Jam for a few hours and later on he
ended up in lighten Hamburg sorry from 1721 through his death in 1767 where he
served as director music and he was offered the job that Bach ended up
getting but Hamburg offered him more money so he was like understand I do
stay you know I think the most important thing to say about this seller is that
he’s always a very good composer but he was the ubiquitous he yes people harp on
the fact that he knew handle any new back yes very very well you know in fact
Bach took the job because tell him one didn’t want it it’s that they’re that
close and what is he is in terms of worth is easy a good as handle or as
good as bath I mean his history just dealt him a cruel blow by forgetting him
as they forgot Bach I’d kind of say that I think in the next 15 or 20 years
there’s gonna be even more appreciation of how good he is you know he did die I
mean he died a sudden death you know after he died as Bach did you see Park
is now in thriving good health tell among as much
thanks to your generation and maybe a few generations before it’s
extraordinary music but here again we’ve got someone who knows about things
elsewhere than in Germany he travels to France at some point and like Michigan
you can write in and an enormous number of styles you know we’ll talk about that
in a minute okay under the music now you didn’t answer my
question that we have you’re playing top line yes
you’re playing yes there’s if there’s a slot adultery isn’t there there should
be yes and so we have yes and then we have this very rich continual yes here we go why don’t you announce the movements? [inaudible] [tuning instruments] ♫ ♫ ♫
[Baroque orchestral music] [applause] What are some comments after hearing
this what what kind of adjectives can used to pull out of the air does it
scribe what you’ve heard well excellent that’s too easy
what else well it’s elegant it’s worldly yes elegance I think is a very important
word in this dunya it’s yes it’s finely honed excellently prepared watching
Robert smile so much now obviously it also means that it’s been giving great
enjoyment yeah and this is what this music is all about and I think one of
the nice things to say about early music is up to say music before 1800 is
certain instruments like yours or like yours have a day in the Sun very early
on I mean can you imagine a flautist maybe 40 years 50 years ago who didn’t
know anything about the 18th century others French or German or you know what
a loss but that’s the way flautist used to live you know they were playing
Settlers Chaminade and and a lot of jerk and the bass soon of course in 19th
century becomes a kind of we’re all their sleepy instruments but he was one
of the most extraordinary saw instruments in the baroque er an
especially of course in Germany and France in fact it’s one of the best
instruments that he and solo instruments that existed and that’s nice to you to
be able to say you know that you guys who are becoming specialists I sent you
you’re plugging into very good repertory know who else are you paying are you
playing what to tear are you playing yes good who else
Vila yes yeah and what are you playing inside from tournament
yeah have you gotten into the have you gotten into some the big round mold big
pieces yeah so asked I have a few questions about the continual it’s
called fundamental which is a nice old-fashioned word actually for the come
to know it’s a bit anonymous when you start to play out a little bit it’s it
works considerately just a few anticipatory sort of beginnings of
phrases isn’t enough you know these people are playing in a very extroverted
style which is required by telomere and yeah you guys are a little bit sort of
yes I mean that’s in the nature of the beast you don’t want to serve upstage
the the the soloists to you in fact Kevon so or character in Manitoba and
they’re talking about continual playing say yes you got to take second seat you
know the discrete continual player is the best continual player but you’re a
little bit too discrete and I wonder why you’re playing the organ solely when
we’ve got two instruments here and I think that any baroque in bet if I were
playing too awful music and some kind of fancy Hamburg house back in the 1740s or
fifties I’d be you know I’d have an organ and a harpsichord and all kinds of
instruments and it seems to me a little bit sort of wussy when it comes to some
of the slow movements and a little bit sort of less articulate and there in the
fast movements was there a conscious choice was it because he use you sound a
bit sort of like yes meaning you tried one or the other well as I said I think the most
important thing is you can do anything in Baroque music and get away with it
you know it’s true you know oh yeah you don’t have to justify you
know pages this is a dove treatise number four if I would know essentially
the input of the soloist and they can’t win all the players you know is much
more important you know if a piece works better on the hops you could use it you
know if it sounds better on the organ yeah it seems to me that the only sort
of crunch and bite and sort of articulation that we hear is coming from
the is it an Archon adorable yeah and that I kind of miss yeah also their
chances to where you can sort of shine a little bit more than you know you’re
gonna be in the Sun a little bit more yeah you’re kind of under a rock you
know and you don’t want to be there this is music where I think everybody should
be I should be playing you know full full steam ahead there’s something nice
also you who perhaps didn’t know more about 19th century music or early 20th
century music yes there are fabulous chamber music pieces written in the
nineteenth century and all you have to do is think about Schubert or shuma you
know our Browns but the fact is the glorious golden age of small ensembles
is this it’s the 18th century and it goes way up into later and this is also
it’s just it’s an enrichment of a repertory a kind of repertory which is
simply extraordinary and it’s new this is also one of the
things that makes this music so extraordinary you haven’t heard it as
often as you’ve heard of Beethoven quartet
I love Beethoven quartets you know and but the fact is this music sounds is if
there were literally little written yesterday
yeah very good let us hear just a difference this will properly so let’s
take the the first the first V that G and do we have time I think we do and
you get just exactly two different put yourselves on the harpsichord and I
think to just play with a little bit more yes let’s talk about so
musical details you coach this piece I would imagine with Robert yes know with
whom okay I said earlier when we were talking about genome that them styles
different styles can be used for the same piece your depending on who’s
playing I’m kind of if I were criticizing there’s very little to be
criticized I’d say sometimes you’re forgetting line
especially in the Kin the bass yeah and I think too that you can keep these
people growing a bit more if there’s a little bit more sort of just freezing
longer phrasing in the in the bass curious enough on the the flout adult
shape if I got nine you’re actually using you seeing the beginnings of
phrases the end and and ends of phrases which i think is it’s very good yeah
very good indeed um bought me a mother criticism I think
perhaps a little bit more conscious work on dynamic shading yeah I mean he helps
you out there a lot you know but you can do it a bit more sort of forceful about
that yeah let’s take the the view about to a few measures okay okay now if this will knock this with
being marked Allegro Allegro and down there I’d see yeah you that’s good tempo
but it’s vivace which not only means I think a quicker tempo but I just have a
smarter articulation it sounds just a little bit waterlogged yeah and you know
it’s how does one create dynamics if dynamics I not talked about or given in
a bin a piece it’s very simple in fact it’s so simple it’s it’s almost it’s
childish when you go up you get louder melodically
and when you go down melodically you get softer no and you can tell that entire
I’m not talking about you know imitation and and fugle sort of entries and all
that I’m talking about chimney you know well I I mentioned this years ago to the
brilliant Philharmonic and they said they couldn’t believe their because I
was giving him a set of personal pieces that had no dynamics and I just told it
I said the basis listen to the the first line and try to sort of after three or
four you know listens you understand that there’s a melodic line that goes up
for the mind then goes down you know and there they were all of a sudden they had
an arsenal of very exciting dynamics just following this very simple childish
way of making dynamics you say yes let’s just get the tempo it’s just a little
bit sort of it’s a little bit sort of old lady crossing the street you know okay now yeah yeah good now
that’s I like it much better frankly um the harpsichord and you have an
advantage over the the plucked instruments you’ve got an entire
keyboard that goes way up top has someone told you that you must never go
above middle C you can participate a little bit more just in terms of yeah
it’s it’s a bit sort of sours as the French would say which means a bit sort
of wise sounding this is not wise music any I think we’ve proved the point maybe
that we could have a little bit more sort of dynamic and a little bit more
and just really just movement yes do you have comments about what you’ve done well it’s well I mean isn’t the line the
line is disjunct isn’t it a bumper bumper seems to me that if you have an
instrument it can give you attack and constance yeah yeah yeah oftentimes you
know I talk about articulation patterns in Baroque music in terms of speech in
terms of syntax even I talk about vowels who are you and you talk about crunchy
consonants yeah and that sometimes there’s a better a
better terminology to use then you know just you know staccato or you know
sandow or you know or they got though absolutely you know these are dialogues
this is this is speech and it’s in a curious way you know
fine I’m this very impressive and is you know these we’ve heard two pieces the
Guinea own on the Taliban that we could we could sell to any good concert hall
anywhere you know they’re they’re polished and they’re they’re ready for
public as long as which is… [applause]

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