Monday, 14 March 2016


Georg Philipp Telemann
TODAY IN BIRTHDAYS: March 14, 1681 - Georg Telemann

Georg Philipp Telemann, an 18th century composer of the German baroque, would become one the eras most prolific composers and gifted musicians - distinctions he earned against all odds: discouraged by his family from the world of music at a young age, Telemann would single handedly ‘self teach’ the art of composition and of the instrument (many of them, in fact, not the least of which were the oboe, recorder, clavier, lute, viol da gamba and violin - he even sung as a baritone!)

A true pioneer of the public concert, then still in it’s infancy stage (from a modern standpoint), Telemann’s influence and the richness contained within his prolific oeuvre could be felt far beyond the reaches of his native Germany, with both composer and repertoire receiving an enthusiastic reception in France (Berlioz was an ardent admirer), and with the musical dynamo 'rubbing shoulders' with composers of the ilk of Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Friedrich Händel - even earning honors from the Austrian Emperor, Ferdinand I! The multi-faceted Telemann would bequeath unto the world an incredibly vast collection of orchestral, operatic, sacred and secular works - adapting to the popular French and Italian styles when required with astonishing ease.

It seems only natural that, after a period of some obscurity – the result of a burgeoning classical era soon to make it’s presence known across Europe – that the works of this highly influential all-around musical prodigy be brought back into the public spotlight where they so rightfully belong.[1] 

Listen below to the beautiful “Jesu, Komm in Meine Seele” as sung by soprano Teresa Stich-Randall

[1]see a partial discography at Naxos: (External link)

Johann Strauss I "The Elder"
TODAY IN BIRTHDAYS: March 14, 1804 - Johann Strauss I

The incredibly popular Radetzky March, heard annually at the closing of the New Year's Day concert in Vienna was composed by 19th century musician Johann Strauss I.

Patriarch of the brothers Strauss (Johann the II, Josef, and Eduard - no relation to Richard), Johann Strauss I “The Elder,” could be coined the “Grandfather” of the Waltz - a musical genre he helped popularize across the European continent alongside reformist Joseph Lanner (although his son Johann Strauss II would succeed his fame in this arena, becoming known to the world as the "King of the Waltz" - there probably isn't a person alive who hasn't heard "The Blue Danube"). The Patriarch Strauss’ most recognized work, both at home and abroad, however, would not be that of a waltz, but rather, of a march – the so called “Radetzky March," composed by the elder Strauss in 1848 as part of a commission celebrating Austrian Army Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz’s victory over Italy at the Battle of Custoza during the First Italian War of Independence in July of that year. The work was so beloved by the Austrian military at it’s first listening that the Officers, high off of their recent triumph in battle, erupted into chorus of rhythmic clapping and stamping of feet – becoming a a tradition that would stick.

The Radetzky March is a rather peculiar composition in terms of it’s broad use amongst militaries around the world. From it’s starting ground in Austria, the work has become incorporated by regiments around the globe, including Chile, The United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, and was even arranged for the United States Marine Corps Band.

Listen below to a sprightly performance of The Radetzky March, at Vienna’s New Year's Day concert, led by maestro Herbert von Karajan, conducting both orchestra (and audience):


No comments:

Post a Comment