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Bach & Telemann: A meeting of friends

Bach & Telemann: A meeting of friends

We tend to imagine the great figures of history as isolated individuals, immersed in their own extraordinary works. In fact that is rarely the case, and especially not for the two protagonists of this programme. That Telemann was godfather to J. S. Bach’s third son (C. P. E. Bach) gives us a good idea of their personal relationship.

At times they were also quite close in their musical careers. Bach was Thomaskantor in Leipzig from 1723 until his death in 1750, for example; yet his long-lasting relationship with this city only began, and the position that allowed Bach to write some of his most famous religious works was only handed to him, after Telemann had already been offered the post—and had refused it—a year before. Once installed as kantor, Bach regularly chose works by Telemann for performance, showing that his esteem for the composer was not only personal but also musical.

The complexity, flawless counterpoint, unique treatment of harmony and other elements that are nowadays highly appreciated in Bach’s music were probably, in his own day, among the reasons why his compositions seemed heavy, old-fashioned and hard to understand to many of his contemporaries. On the other hand, Telemann was an extremely successful composer, publishing not only in Germany but also in Paris, where he earned approbation even given the rather closed-minded musical tastes of the French.

In tonight’s programme we invite our audience to reflect upon the relationship between these two huge musical figures, and to enjoy some of the many hours of wonderful music they have left behind.

  • 🎉Cambridge Early Music
  • 📅Sun 26 May 2024
  • 📍Downing Place URC, Cambridge
  • 🕑6:00pm
  • 🎫Standard £27.50, Student £7.50 (Under 18s free)

Downing Place URC, Cambridge
Hilton Cambridge City Centre, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3DT, United Kingdom