“Something for Everyone’s Taste”: Telemann’s Sonatas to 1725
Telemann’s penchant for stylistic and generic amalgamation is perhaps most vividly expressed in his sonatas. Scored in one to seven parts for a vast array of instrumental combinations, these works chart his compositional inclinations over the course of a half century. This chapter considers the earliest among them, which reveal sides of the composer that seem far removed from the galant aesthetic he would later cultivate in his published sonatas at Hamburg, yet are hardly less compelling for it. Embodied in this music is Telemann’s youthful mastery of the principal Italian, French, and German idioms of the late 17th century. Present, too, is an emerging individuality of expression that culminates, by the time of his first four sonata publications (1715–18), in a stylistic eclecticism anticipating that of the later Hamburg works.
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