The Tempesta di Mare Baroque Orchestra is centering its season on one of music’s greatest also-rans, the Baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann. Tempesta is opening its Center City schedule with a Telemann Octoberfest including two concerts and a “talk show” with a beer-and-music aftermath.
Telemann (1681-1767) was the top composer in Europe in his own time, but posterity has heaped its biggest laurels on his contemporary, Johann Sebastian Bach. The revival of Baroque music in the 20th century restored Telemann’s reputation and he’s now considered a major composer, even if Bach holds the gold medal.
The first festival concert, on October 13 at the American Philosophical Society, will spotlight the chamber music that charmed audiences all over Europe, with selections from the Telemann works collected by Bach and other Telemann fans. It will also include the modern premiere of a soprano aria that actually was sung in Pennsylvania during Telemann’s lifetime. The second concert, on October 14 at the Kimmel, will present Telemann’s music for large-scale orchestras, with showy pieces created for the leading orchestra of his era.
The October 11 talk show, dubbed “The Case for Telemann,” explores how someone who was a musical giant in his own time could be relatively little known today. The discussion “confronts anti-Telemann prejudice, explores the fickle nature of fame,” and offers a fresh look at some “brilliant” music. Participants include a musicologist from the International Telemann Research Center in Magdeburg, Germany, and a psychologist who researches fan behavior. The event is free, and it will be followed by a reception with food and beer for sale, alongside music by the choir and Baroque orchestra of Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance.
Tempesta di Mare will present its Telemann talk show on October 11 at 6pm at Independence Seaport Museum, 211 South Columbus Blvd (at Walnut Street), Philadelphia. Admission is free, but registration is required in advance or at the door. The Faithful Music Master is coming up on Friday, October 13, at 8pm in the Benjamin Franklin Hall of the American Philosophical Society. Tickets are $25 to $39, with free admission at the door for full-time students and youth (grades 3 through 12). Fire & Invention will take place on Saturday, October 14 at 8pm at the Kimmel’s Perelman Theater, Broad and Spruce Streets. Tickets are $29 to $49, and $10 for full-time students and youth (grades 3 through 12). Tickets are available online and at the door.
At right: Tempesta di Mare goes full circle on Telemann this season.