Saturday, July 25, 2020

Telemann's dozen

Two years (and a bit) ago I learned to play Telemann's fantasia No. 2 in a minor, which must have flicked a switch in my flute brain, as I have been playing a lot of unaccompanied baroque pieces ever since. In May, with the lockdown going on and flute lessons being off, I decided on an exploratory run through the remaining 11 fantasias, trying each one for a week, to see if I find one I want to spend more time with. I'm now in the last week of the project, so I have played every note in this lovely book, although not necessarily at the right time:

Oh, and I have added a version of each to my YouTube playlist with flute repertoire.

I have already earmarked No. 11 G major for further study, might also consider 6, 8 or 9. Number 9 is in E major (4 sharps, ####) but what I learned from it is that the fourth #, namely D#, is actually making life easier compared to playing ###, as you don't have to lift the little finger coming down from the E to play the note below. (Obviously, I haven't practiced all of my scales, otherwise I would have known that.)

Here are some interesting thoughts on the fantasias from Rachel Brown, who also has released a CD with the complete set.

Any flute players out there, tell me which one is your favourite?

PS Various artists have identified dance forms in the movements. None of them is marked in the score so I'll add to the list here whatever I can find:

1. Fantasia in A major (Vivace – Allegro=Passepied)
2. Fantasia in A minor (Grave – Vivace – Adagio – Allegro)
3. Fantasia in B minor (Largo – Vivace – Largo – Vivace – Allegro=Gigue)
4. Fantasia in B-flat major (Andante – Allegro=Polonaise – Presto)
5. Fantasia in C major (Presto – Largo – Presto – Dolce – Allegro – Allegro=Canarie)
6. Fantasia in D minor (Dolce – Allegro – Spirituoso=Hornpipe/Rondeau)
7. Fantasia in D major (Alla francese=including a Rondeau – Presto=Folk dance?)
8. Fantasia in E minor (Largo=Allemande – Spirituoso – Allegro=Polonaise)
9. Fantasia in E major (Affettuoso=Sarabande – Allegro – Grave – Vivace=Bourrée)
10. Fantasia in F-sharp minor (A Tempo giusto=Corrente – Presto – Moderato=Minuet)
11. Fantasia in G major (Allegro – Adagio – Vivace – Allegro)
12. Fantasia in G minor (Grave – Allegro – Grave – Allegro – Dolce – Allegro – Presto=Bourrée)

PDF sheet music is freely available, eg from, from where I also nicked the bourrées and rondeaus that weren't specifically assigned in Rachel Brown's essay about the fantasias.

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