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Notes 57.1 (2000) 110-112

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Book Review

Georg Philipp Telemann:
Thematisch-Systematisches Verzeichnis seiner Werke: Telemann-Werkverzeichnis (TWV): Instrumentalwerke. Vol. 3


Georg Philipp Telemann: Thematisch-Systematisches Verzeichnis seiner Werke: Telemann-Werkverzeichnis (TWV): Instrumentalwerke. Vol. 3. Ed. Martin Ruhnke. (George Philipp Telemann. Musikalische Werke. Supplement.) Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1999. [xii, 282 p. ISBN 3-7618-1398-8. DM 365.]

This is the third and final volume of the Telemann-Werkverzeichnis (TWV): Instrumentalwerke, a supplement to Bärenreiter's selected critical edition of the composer's works (Musikalische Werke [Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1950-]). Covered here are over 200 concertos and orchestral suites, the former divided into works with one soloist (work group 51), two soloists (52), three soloists (53), and four soloists as well as "group concertos" (54). The suites, regardless of their instrumentation, are assigned to work group 55. (References below to specific works omit "TWV" and begin with the group number.) This repertory has already been surveyed in thematic catalogs by Adolf Hoffmann (Die Orchestersuiten Georg Philipp Telemanns: TWV 55 [Wolfenbüttel: Möseler, 1969]) and Siegfried Kross (Das Instrumentalkonzert bei Georg Philipp Telemann [Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1969]). Martin Ruhnke's new catalog largely supersedes these earlier publications, despite omitting some useful information supplied by Hoffmann. Well organized, attractively produced, and easy to use, it provides an authoritative survey of a repertory that is beginning to receive much-deserved attention from performers and scholars alike. Indeed, to flip through the catalog is to be overwhelmed by an astonishing diversity of instrumentation and style, and above all by Telemann's remarkable inventiveness over a period of six or more decades as a composer of instrumental music.

With few exceptions, the sources for these works are early-eighteenth-century manuscript copies. Out of a total of 258 orchestral works (Ruhnke's count, p. xi), just 5 concertos, 6 orchestral suites, and 6 sinfonie and divertimenti survive in autograph sources. Aside from the 3 concertos, 10 orchestral suites, and 6 sinfonie that Telemann published himself, no other orchestral works appeared in print during his lifetime. The greatest number of manuscript copies are preserved in Darmstadt and Dresden, where Telemann regularly supplied the courts with all manner of instrumental works. Ruhnke takes a minimalist approach to describing these sources, being generally content to identify them as scores or parts, with datings and identifications of copying hands as proposed by various other scholars; for dates and copyists of Darmstadt sources, he relies on an unpublished study undertaken in the late eighties by Brian Stewart with help from Oswald Bill (p. viii). This information, untested as it is, should be treated with due caution, especially as Ruhnke can be too selective in
his citations. (For example, Christoph Graupner is the copyist of only the headings for 55: D11, and Johann Samuel Endler copied only one part to 55: g6.) What is left unsaid is that the Stewart-Bill dates--and those proposed for other works by Manfred Fechner, Joachim Jaenecke, Klaus-Peter Koch, and Ortrun Landmann --apply to the copying of the manuscript in question, not the composition of the work transmitted therein. On the other hand, dates proposed by Wolfgang Hirschmann, Wolf Hobohm, and Colin Lawson all relate to composition. There is a real danger that users of the catalog unfamiliar with the secondary literature on Telemann--Ruhnke cites only some of the relevant studies in the volume's preface--will interpret these dates incorrectly. To take one example, the style of the G-major violin concerto 51: G7, copied at Darmstadt (according to Stewart-Bill) between 1737 and 1744, strongly suggests that it was composed during the 1710s or early 1720s. But the much later copying date may lead some to regard the work as one of Telemann's last concertos.

One wishes that Ruhnke had also included transcriptions of title pages and the number and titles of parts, for such details potentially have much to tell us about scoring, performing practices, chronology, and eighteenth-century concepts of genre. Hoffmann provides some of this information for the orchestral suites...


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