“The most exciting thing on this journey of a hundred stages was to find in each individual minuet a unique and unrepeatable sense of originality: a hundred miniatures comprising a kaleidoscope as rich and coherent as was ever heard.” – Andrea Coen
Coen views the 100 Menuets as a continuation of his earlier recording on Brilliant Classics of Telemann’s Kleine Kammermusik, intended by the composer for any of various melodic instruments and figured bass accompaniment, or for the harpsichord alone. In accordance with performance practice of the time, Coen realized unwritten harmonies on the basis of the very detailed figured bass line Telemann provides, and he takes the exact same approach on this recording of Telemann’s two sets of 49 + 1 miniatures, which take up right where the Kleine Kammermusik ends – with a minuet.
Telemann’s 100 Menuets are well-crafted miniatures of 16 to 40 measures; those of the second set of 50 (from 1730) are generally briefer than those of the first (from 1728). In both collections, the keys are arranged alphabetically so that each group of seven menuets (eight in the last) is confined to one or two tonal centres, a system Telemann may have devised in order to encourage novice players to master one small group of tonalities at a time.
With few exceptions, the dances are unvarying in their two-reprise structure and four-measure phrasing. Two dances have a kind of da capo structure (II/38 and 48: AABA), while several offer relief from the oppressively regular phraseology by mixing in uneven or asymmetrical phrases (I/5, with five-measure phrases; I/10, I/44, and II/41, with six-measure phrases). Others strongly invoke the French style through the short–long–long–short ‘Favier’ rhythm or numerous tierces couleìes, ports de voix and other agreìments (I/12, I/22, I/31, II/20). Occasionally, Telemann high-mindedly writes a strict canon (II/50) or invertible counterpoint (I/5–6, 24–25, 50): the treble and bass voices of Menuets I/5 and 24 are exchanged in I/6 and 25; the same switch occurs between the two halves of Menuet I/50.
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) composed two sets of “Seven times seven plus one Menuet’, resulting in the total of a hundred Menuets. It is not certain what Telemann meant with this numerical title, most likely the biblical holy number 7 plays an important part in it.
Telemann’s menuets are well-crafted miniatures of sixteen to forty measures; those of the second collection are generally briefer than those of the first. In both collections, the keys are arranged alphabetically. With few exceptions, the dances are unvarying in their two-reprise structure and four-measure phrasing.
Andrea Coen is an organist, harpsichordist, and fortepianist, who has studied with such distinguished artists as Ton Koopman and Alan Curtis, and has collaborated with such figures as Christopher Hogwood and Monica Huggett. His recordings of Baroque and early-Classical keyboard repertoire for Brilliant Classics have attracted glowing reviews. Coen recorded the “Kleine Kammermusik” and made the first complete recording of Telemann’s Fantasias (94228). According to MusicWeb International: ‘Coen, an experienced, insightful instrumentalist with a profound knowledge of historical performance practice and a sackful of important recordings under his belt, could make Telemann sound special even on a typewriter.’
Andrea Coen about these 100 Menuets: “The most exciting thing, in this journey of a hundred stages, was to find in each individual minuet a unique and unrepeatable sense of originality: a hundred miniatures that compose a kaleidoscope as rich and coherent as was ever heard”.
Recorded in January of 2021 in Monte Compatri (Rome), Italy
Booklet contains notes on the music by the artist and other contributors.