Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767) was renowned for his modern zeitgeist, which enabled him to embrace the evolving musical tastes of his time and the preferences of his audience. His compositional output encompasses influences and musical fashions from many European counties, melting them into the so-called mixed style, the goût réuni.
This mix of styles is an especially prominent feature in his XII Fantasie per il Flauto senza Basso (c. 1733, Hamburg). These Fantasias for an unaccompanied flute juxtapose German counterpoint with Italian virtuosity, French and English dance movements with Polish folk infused dances. Perhaps this is what Telemann’s choice of title, ‘Fantasie’, refers to: a fanciful, imaginative, daring, and fantastic line-up of musical languages. This invites the idea of exploring the continuing relevance of these ingenious pieces by adding the 21st century to the mosaic of compositional styles.
On the occasion of Telemann’s 250th anniversary of death in 2017 the City Music Foundation and Tabea Debus have commissioned twelve contemporary pieces based on each of the Fantasias. All of these freshly-penned pieces are reflections on thematic, harmonic or rhythmic material taken from the Fantasias, a (re-) interpretation of musical ideas, a reply to Telemann’s musical thoughts.
This recording aims not only at documenting the ever expanding repertoire for solo recorder, but also at showcasing so-far “unheard of” ways of listening to seemingly ‘old” music. It strives to reveal the continuous relevance of Telemann’s music in general and his twelve Fantasias for solo flute in particular.