Telemann - Scherzi Melodici Fanfare review

Telemann: Scherzi Melodichi

Trust Georg Philipp Telemann to have an inordinately large amount of fun composing music. It always seems to me that he is forever joking about and playing with the various tools that he uses to craft his instrumental works, and if one looks at a number of these in conjunction with their titles, the possibilities he raises seem kaleidoscopic. The contents of this disc, the seven suites entitled (in English) “Melodic Jests,” fit this view rather nicely. For one, the title page of the published edition from 1734 reads “Scherzi melodichi per divertimento di coloro che prendono le Acque minerali in Pirmonte,” etc. In other words, he seems to have written them while taking the waters in Bad Pyrmont, a spa town Telemann apparently loved to frequent. And if this weren’t enough, he divides these into seven suites of seven movements apiece (in addition to an introductory movement) that seem to be intended to be played in sequence according to the days of the week. Although there is the usual dedication to a noble patron, in this case Prince Karl August Friedrich of Waldeck and Pyrmont, his own introduction seems to imply that their existence was solely for the purpose of entertaining fellow guests who were also taking the cure by musically extoling the virtues of the waters. I find this a bit disingenuous, for of course, powerful mineral waters seem often to have an emetic effect when taken internally, and the music is anything but descriptive word painting.

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