G. Ph. Telemann – sonata in D minor (Re Minor) for recorder and BC
Lately I found myself teaching this recorder sonata twice to two different students, and playing it myself in a recital after a long time we (it and me) had been out of touch.
If you know this sonata, you shall probably agree with me that it certainly IS one of the masterpieces for recorder.
What is it that makes this sonata so special?
I can make a list which would be rather long….the surprising beginning of the b flat (si bemol) over the c sharp (do #) in the bass – giving us this remarkably strong chord c#egb bemol, dictating a beginning of both instability and pain. the little phrases of the treble, creating, moreover, a feeling of breathlessness, of drama, of almost a tragedy…one to happen, or one that had happened already, the surprising melodic leaps, the fantiastically colorful chord…all these make this movement one of the most beautiful ever composed for recorder.
Then comes the Allegro – seemingly simpler – streaming on until the powerful unisono at the end of each half of it – showing us still how troubled we are….reaching out to the unorthodox Grave, in 2 parts, one agonizing, contemplating, the other continuing – because life goes on…to the gigue.
I do not know if that is THE interpretation…I do know that in each piece of music we play, we have to find our holy trinity…which will always be the middle point of three: the piece, the instrument and us. We have to find a narrative that allows us to feel with all our senses, to which we can connect in many ways – and then go on and pour it into the music – and then, only then, will we be able to produce a true perfromace, and what is true – is always good.
Anthony Rowland-Jones devotes an entire chapter to this sonata, reaching it though a survey on recorder music in the Italian style:
“At the outset Telemann uses the Italian device of great dynamic contrast. A double echo appears three times in the movement; to create its full effect, the general level of the movement must be mf rather than mp. The ardent second movement and the driving gigue also need a generlly high dynamic level. The moment of hush is therefore the third movement, which the schott edition of this sonata marks ‘sotto voce’, a devotional whisper.
(This piece was edited by Andrea Bornstein and published in his marvelous site: www.flauto-dolce.it/ )
It will be noticed that the continuo bass part has very little to do – only 22 notes, all within an octave’s range. The bass note never changes during a bar. The movement is almost a monody, the last half of which is a long-drawn-out but decorated descent from G’ to A. There is a slight feel of melodic movement in bar 11, the only point where the merest suggestion of a crscendo out of the prevailing stillness is justified. ”
He adds: “…It needs, very appropriate in this movement – intense concentration to maintain a steady flow of breath at such low breath-pressures.”
A great fingering plan is suggested by Mr. Rowland-Jones, to achieve wanted effects:
(I do recommend warmly to purchase this book, as you can see, it has priceless information, if you click upon the link above, you shall be directed to Amazns’s page of this book, and could buy it directly).
If you’d like to play this piece, I can recommend a very good edition by Schott, which can be purchased online:
|Sonata in D Minor (from Essercizii Musici) – Score and parts
By Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767). For Alto/Treble Recorder and Basso Continuo. Recorder with Keyboard or Continuo. 3 – Moderate. Score and Parts. Published by Schott Music (MM.OFB0104)