Georg Philipp Telemann gave us one of the richest legacies of instrumental music from the eighteenth century. Though considered a definitive contribution to the genre during his lifetime, his concertos, sonatas, and suites were then virtually ignored for nearly two centuries following his death. Yet these works are now among the most popular in the baroque repertory. In Music for a Mixed Taste
, Steven Zohn considers Telemann's music from stylistic, generic, and cultural perspectives. He investigates the composer's cosmopolitan "mixed taste"-a blending of the French, Italian, English, and Polish national styles-and his imaginative expansion of this concept to embrace mixtures of the old (late baroque) and new (galant
) styles. Telemann had an equally remarkable penchant for generic amalgamation, exemplified by his pioneering role in developing hybrid types such as the sonata in concerto style ("Sonate auf Concertenart") and overture-suite with solo instrument ("Concert en ouverture"). Zohn examines the extramusical meanings of Telemann's "characteristic" overture-suites, which bear descriptive texts associating them with literature, medicine, politics, religion, and the natural world, and which acted as vehicles for the composer's keen sense of musical humor. Zohn then explores Telemann's unprecedented self-publishing enterprise at Hamburg, and sheds light on the previously unrecognized borrowing by J.S. Bach from a Telemann concerto. Music for a Mixed Taste
further reveals how Telemann's style polonaise
generates musical and social meanings through the timeless oppositions of Orient-Occident, urban-rural, and serious-comic.
"If any music-lovers, performers, or scholars still doubt the beauty and richness of Telemann's music or the importance of his industrious life for the course of music history, let them now read this new study by Steven Zohn, which is extraordinarily well researched, meticulously argued, and original in both content and approach. In one bound, Zohn sets new standards not only for literature in English on Telemann, but also for Telemann scholarship worldwide." ―Michael Talbot, Emeritus Professor of Music, University of Liverpool
"Zohn takes Telemann well beyond Bach's shadow, revealing not only Telemann's original voice and uncanny fluency in any number of national styles, but also transforming our basic conceptions about music in eighteenth-century Germany. An invaluable contribution." ― Wendy Heller, Professor of Music, Princeton University
"Steven Zohn's excellent and engaging study should put to rest, once and for all, any view that Telemann was a habitual composer of wallpaper music. Zohn gives us a comprehensive, nuanced, and discerning picture of the Telemann whose music Bach and Handel so greatly admired."―Michael Marissen, Professor of Music, Swarthmore College, and author of The Social and Religious Designs of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos