Telemann Suite In A Minor – Pamela Thorby, Recorder

Here’s a stereotype-breaker for you. True or false:

  • Telemann is a silly composer compared to J.S. Bach,
  • Recorder is a featherweight among instruments,
  • Women don’t conduct orchestras worth listening to.

Admit it… you’ve heard all three of those stereotypes at various times. And they are all… not sadly, but perniciously, possibly maliciously… false.

And so we have below a single example that blows all three pernicious stereotypes to smithereens. Here, in three parts, is the Telemann Suite in A Minor for recorder and orchestra… a mighty deep work considering it’s “just” a dance suite… performed by Pamela Thorby, alto recorder, accompanied by Ensemble Sonnerie conducted from the concertmaster’s chair (as is traditional for this kind of music) by Monica Huggett.

The same technology that brings us this wonder also enforces the time limits that require it to be divided into three parts. Note that Telemann had nothing to do with the separation into parts; the movements, however, are his.

Note also that Huggett takes all repeats, including in the return after a da capo. This is because in this period, repeats are structural: if you omit them, you disrupt the balance of the form. (Yes, now that you know that fact, you probably will want to do that with your Bach French Suites as well, whatever instrument you play them on.)

Part 1:

  • 1. Ouverture
  • 2. Les Plaisirs

Part 2:

  • 3. Air A L’italien
  • 4. Menuet I & II

Part 3:

  • 5. Rejouissance
  • 6. Passepied I & II
  • 7. Polonoise
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  • MandT  On Monday July 18, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    “Women don’t conduct orchestras worth listening to.” Antonia Brico is whirling in her urn about now. 🙂

    • Steve  On Monday July 18, 2011 at 10:52 pm

      Brico is one among many, including many young (living) women quickly rising in the rarefied atmosphere of conducting.

      Monica Huggett, who is only slightly younger than I am, looks downright grandmotherly to be at the helm of one of the name-brand baroque orchestras (and chamber ensembles) in the world, so it’s not just the young conductors among whom women shine.

  • MandT  On Tuesday July 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Very much enjoy these music posts—-thanks

    • Steve  On Tuesday July 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm

      I enjoy “researching” and writing them, MandT. Glad you like them!

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