12 Fantasias for Viola da Gamba (Telemann)

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Twelve Fantasias for Viola da Gamba Solo
Fantaisies pour la Basse de Violle
by Georg Philipp Telemann
Gambe-Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg-1911.496.tif
Viola da Gamba, 17th century
CatalogueTWV 40:26–37
Published1735 (1735): Hamburg

Georg Philipp Telemann's collection of Twelve Fantasias for Viola da Gamba Solo, TWV 40:26–37, was published in Hamburg in 1735, titled Fantaisies pour la Basse de Violle. The fantasias for viola da gamba were considered lost until an original print was found in a private collection in 2015. They were published by Edition Güntersberg in 2016, and first recorded and performed again by Thomas Fritzsch the same year.


Telemann printed the fantasias for viola da gamba in 1735 in his own publishing house in Hamburg.[1] He undertook self-publishing, offering works by subscription: His subscriber lists include buyers from Amsterdam, London and Paris. He offered a 20% discount to subscribers to the fantasias.[2] The fantasias are among Telemann's collections of music for unaccompanied instruments, with others being twelve fantasias for solo flute (1732/33), twelve fantasias for solo violin (1735), and thirty-six pieces for harpsichord (1732–33).[3]

Based on research by the French musicologist François-Pierre Goy,[4] the fantasias, which had been thought to be lost, were found in 2015 in an archive of the State Archive of Lower Saxony [de] in Osnabrück.[5][6][7] The archive held a complete copy of the music printed by Telemann in 1735 in the private collection from Schloss Ledenburg, now called Ledenburg Collection.[8][7] The fantasias were published by Edition Güntersberg in 2016, with a facsimile of Telemann's print.[1] After their discovery, the fantasias were first performed by the gambist Thomas Fritzsch,[7] who is also a musicologist teaching at the Leipzig University.[9] Fritzsch played them for the first time after their rediscovery in two concerts as part of the 23rd Magdeburger Telemann-Festtage on 19 and 20 March 2016, along with a recording (made at the abbey church of Zscheiplitz)[10][11] and the presentation of the edition.[7]


This collection consists of the following works:[12]

  1. Fantasia in C minor (Adagio – Allegro – Adagio – Allegro)[13][14]
  2. Fantasia in D major (Vivace – Andante – Vivace Presto)
  3. Fantasia in E minor (Largo – Presto – Vivace)
  4. Fantasia in F major (Vivace – Grave – Allegro)
  5. Fantasia in B-flat major (Allegro – Largo – Allegro)
  6. Fantasia in G major (Scherzando – Dolce – Spirituoso)
  7. Fantasia in G minor (Andante – Vivace – Allegro)
  8. Fantasia in A major (Allegro – Vivace – Allegro)
  9. Fantasia in C major (Presto – Grave – Allegro)
  10. Fantasia in E major (Dolce – Allegro – Dolce – Allegro Siciliana Scherzando)
  11. Fantasia in D minor (Allegro – Grave – Allegro)
  12. Fantasia in E-flat major (Andante – Allegro – Vivace)

Written at a time when the instrument was no longer fashionable, Telemann had to compose with imagination to attract buyers.[15][11] A reviewer of Gramophone notes: "Telemann presents a cornucopia of broken chords, unison and contrapuntal writing, passagework and even some plucking; there’s also a nod to the fashion tussle of the time between the fugal and the galant style".[11]

Performances, arrangement and recordings[edit]

The fantasias have been performed internationally after their rediscovery, especially in 2017, celebrating 250 years after the composer died.[2][12][16] The flutist Monika Mandelartz arranged the fantasias for her instrument, saying that they are "complex, musically rich pieces, albeit not immediately understandable to the performer".[17]

Jonathan Dunford recorded the fantasias in two volumes, one in April 2016,[18] the second in May that year,[19] and he played excerpts in lectures for France Musique in July 2016.[20] The fantasias were recorded by Robert Smith[21] in 2017. A reviewer of The Guardian noted the compositions' "astonishing range" in character between "infectious jollity" and "depths of despair",[22] and attest that the player "navigates each piece with clear-eyed musicality, always weaving a beautifully sonorous, coherent line through Telemann’s rich invention".[22]


Fritzsch was awarded the Echo Klassik 2017 in the category Welterstaufführung (World Premiere Recording) for his first recording of the fantasias.[23][24]


  • Zadow, Günter von; Fritzsch, Thomas, eds. (2016). Telemann, Zwölf Fantasien für Viola da Gamba solo, 40:26–37, VdG, Moderne Ausgabe und Faksimile. Edition Güntersberg. ISMN 979-0-50174-281-3.


  1. ^ a b Güntersberg 2016.
  2. ^ a b Guerrieri, Matthew (9 June 2017). "Lost and found music, two centuries apart". Boston Globe. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  3. ^ Zohn 2008.
  4. ^ François-Pierre Goy on BnF
  5. ^ Zadow 2016, p. 47,64.
  6. ^ Drees, Stefan (25 March 2016). "Telemann, Georg Philipp – 12 Fantaisies pour la Basse de Violle / Schließung einer bedeutsamen Repertoirelücke" (in German). Magazin Klassik. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d "Gambist Thomas Fritzsch präsentiert 12 verschollen geglaubte Fantasien für Viola da gamba" (PDF) (in German). Magdeburger Telemann-Festtage. 2016. p. 6. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  8. ^ Zadow 2016, p. 47.
  9. ^ "Thomas Fritzsch" (in German). Institut für Musikpädagogik of the Leipzig University. Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Welturaufführung in Klosterkirche" (in German). Burgenlandkreis Regional TV. 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Gardner, Charlotte (2016). "Telemann / 12 Fantaisies pour la basse de violle". Gramophone. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Telemannia: Telemann's Complete 'Lost' 12 Fantasias for Solo Viol, 1735". telemann2017.eu. 10 March 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Fantasia 1 [C-Moll] / TWV 40:26" (PDF). Edition Güntersberg. 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Viola di Gamba. Fantasia I." (PDF). Edition Güntersberg. 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  15. ^ Heinrich 2016, p. 99.
  16. ^ "Georg Philipp Telemann: From the 12 Fantasies for Viola da gamba Solo". Internationale Barocktage Stift Melk. 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  17. ^ Mandelartz, Monika (2016). "Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767) / 12 Fantasias / arranged after the fantasias for viola da gamba solo". Girolamo. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Telemann: Fantasies for Solo Viola da Gamba, Vol. 1". store.cdbaby.com. 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  19. ^ "Telemann: Fantasies for Solo Viola da Gamba, Vol. 2". store.cdbaby.com. 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  20. ^ "France Musique – Jonathan Dunford on Telemann's 12 Fantasias for Solo Viola da Gamba, 1735" (in French). telemannia.org. 30 July 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  21. ^ "Robert Smith" (in German). L'Arco Sonoro. 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  22. ^ a b Pritchard, Stephen (30 July 2017). "Telemann: Fantasias for Viola da Gamba CD review – a delight". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  23. ^ "Winners" (PDF). Echo Klassik. 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  24. ^ "ECHO Klassik 2017 für Thomas Fritzsch" (in German). telemann2017.eu. 1 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2016.


External links[edit]