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Notes 59.2 (2002) 438-442

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Georg Philipp Telemann. Miriways: Singspiel in drei Akten nach einem Libretto von Johann Samuel Müller, TWV 21:24. Herausgegeben von Brit Reipsch. (Musikalische Werke, 38.) Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1999. [Zur Ausgabe, p. vii; Vorwort, p. viii-xv; Krit. Bericht, p. xvi-xxiv; facsims., p. xxv-xxxi; facsim. reprod. of libretto (1728), p. xxxii-xli; score, 288 p. Cloth. ISMN M-006-49793-5; BA 5854. €207.07.] [End Page 438]
Georg Philipp Telemann. Die Last-tragende Liebe, oder Emma und Eginhard: Singspiel in drei Akten nach einem Libretto von Christoph Gottlieb Wend, TWV 21:25. Herausgegeben von Wolfgang Hirschmann. (Musikalische Werke, 37.) Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2000. [Zur Ausgabe, p. viii; Vorwort, p. ix-xxv; Krit. Bericht, p. xxvi-xliii; facsims., p. xliv-li; facsim. reprod. of libretto (1728), p. lii-lxviii; score, 444 p.; Anhang, p. 445-87. Cloth. ISMN M-006-49794-2; BA 5855. €278.65.]

Considering how slowly modern editions of operas by Georg Philipp Telemann have appeared over the years, the recent publication of two such works in close succession promises to have a considerable impact on our understanding of Telemann's career in the theater. These editions should also promote a deeper appreciation of the Hamburg Opera, a celebrated institution that nourished the careers of George Frideric Handel, Reinhard Keiser, and Johann Mattheson, but which owed its survival during the 1720s and 1730s largely to Telemann's energetic directorship. When not adapting Handel's operas to the local taste, Telemann provided the company with an almost continuous flow of his own operas, intermezzos, and prologues—thirty-five, by his own count, between 1721 and the mid-1730s. Although the music to most of these compositions is lost, eight extant works form a representative sampling of the composer's operatic career during the 1720s. Three of these operas have long been available in reliable modern editions: Der geduldige Socrates (1721; ed. Bernd Baselt, Musikalische Werke, 20 [Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1967]), Der neumodische Liebhaber Damon (1724, a revision of the 1719 Leipzig opera Die Satyren in Arcadien; ed. Bernd Baselt, Musikalische Werke, 21 [Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1969]), and the well-known intermezzo Pimpinone, oder Die ungleiche Heirat (1725; ed. Theodor Wilhelm Werner, Das Erbe deutscher Musik, ser. 1, vol. 6/1 [Mainz: B. Schott's Söhne, 1936]). Still awaiting publication are three full-length operas containing some of Telemann's finest dramatic music: Sieg der Schönheit (1722), perhaps his greatest success at Hamburg; Orpheus, oder Die wunderbare Beständigkeit der Liebe (1726; rev. 1736); and Flavius Bertaridus, König der Longobarden (1729). Orpheus has already received an excellent recorded performance by the Akademie für alte Musik Berlin under René Jacobs (Harmonia Mundi HMC 901618.19 [1998]). Telemann's last stage work, the one-act comic serenata Don Quichotte auf der Hochzeit des Comacho (ed. Bernd Baselt, Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era, 64-65 [Madison, Wisc.: A-R Editions, 1990]), was written for a concert performance in 1761, twenty-three years after declining attendance forced the Hamburg Opera to close for good.

Miriways and Die Last-tragende Liebe, oder Emma und Eginhard, two of the three Telemann operas that premiered in 1728 (the third was Die verkehrte Welt), are among the most important volumes issued by Bärenreiter in the Telemann Musikalische Werke during recent years. Both scores are carefully edited and include informative prefaces, detailed critical reports, and a generous number of facsimiles (including the complete librettos). Although these operas are, to outward appearances, opere serie, neither is concerned with the usual heroic deeds, political intrigues, or supernatural happenings; instead, their plots revolve around love triangles that raise issues of morality and duty as they give rise to the inevitable cases of deception and mistaken identity. As Wolfgang Hirschmann points out in his preface to Emma und Eginhard, Christoph Gottlieb Wend's libretto follows...


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