Telemann’s Wassermusik or Hamburger Ebb und Fluth was performed on April 6th 1723 as part of the celebrations for the hundredth anniversary of the Hamburg Admiralty. It formed the opening part of a serenata (a costume drama, largely without action) with a text by Michael Richey (1678-1761). At the time, Telemann was responsible for composing and directing music in Hamburg, and was employed by the city in that role. The titles of the movements, apart from the overture, are references to Greek mythological characters and gods, which were (and are) commonly used to illustrate archetypal personalities in drama. Those chosen here are all associated with water, the sea or the wind. Their music is represented here in a series of dance movements, which reflect mood and character by the choice of instruments, tempo and tessitura (i.e. pitch or range), and dynamics. After the first performance it was reported in the Stats u. Gelehrte Zeitung that the music was ‘uncommonly well-suited to the occasion’.
Wassermusik “Hamburger Ebb und Fluth”
Sarabande: Die schlafende Thetis (Thetis sleeping)
Bourrée: Die erwachende Thetis (Thetis awakening)
Loure: Der verliebte Neptunus (Neptune in love)
Gavotte: Spielende Najaden (Naiads at play)
Harlequinade: Der schertzende Tritonus (Triton at play)
Der stürmende Aeolus (turbulent Aeolus)
Menuet: Der angenehme Zephir (agreeable Zephyrus)
Gigue: Ebb’ und Fluth (ebb and flow)
Canarie: Die lustigen Bots Leute (the merry mariners)
Overture (Suite) TWV 55:C6 in C major for 3 oboes, strings & b.c.
Overture (Suite) TWV 55:C3 in C major for wind, strings & b.c. 'Hamburger Ebb und Fluth' ('Wassermusik')
Overture in E minor TWV55:e5
Mr. Baron played flute in Bach's Second Orchestral Suite (BWV 1067) and conducted Telemann's delightful water music, "Hamburger Ebb und Fluth." The mostly young orchestra, though directed perhaps too tightly in the Bach suite and too loosely in the Telemann, acquitted itself well, and the chorus was equally fine. JAMES R. OESTREICH
t wasn't only Handel who wrote Water Music, his contemporary Telemann also supplied a suite. His 1723 offering, entitled Hamburger Ebb und Fluth and conjuring up a succession of sea deities at rest and play, makes Handel's collection of dances seem a tame conception by comparison, if a more graceful one. In this programme, the Academy of Ancient Music tipped the balance even further in the underdog's favour by presenting Telemann's work alongside the gentler G major Suite from Handel's Water Music, rather than the grander and more famous ones in D and F.