music for Holy Saturday – “Schlaf wohl, ihr seligen Gebeine” from Georg Philipp Telemann’s funeral cantata “Du aber Daniel, gehe hin” (TWV 4:17)

by ada

Georg Philipp Telemann, who is one of my favourite composers, was a fascinating character, a Renaissance man of the Baroque era, a self-made musician who mastered about every instrument he composed for and who, at the age of 80, was still mentally active enough to create a tuning system based on logarithmic principles. He was also friends with Johann Sebastian Bach, godfather to his second son, Carl Philipp Emanuel and pen pals with Georg Friedrich Händel.

He composed his funeral cantata, betitled Du aber Daniel, gehe hin as his first wife died in childbirth after only 15 months of marriage. The lyrics of its closing choir movement Schlaf wohl, ihr seligen Gebeine (Sleep well, you sacred bones) is based loosely on the text of the Brockes-Passion (which I feel the need to mention every day lately, but well, it’s quite difficult not to be aware of its significance if speaking of Baroque Passion music).

PS.: The last two years’ posts were a Miserere of Zelenka (of course! Zelenka!) and two Jewish liturgical pieces written for the Amsterdam Synagogue by Cristiano Giuseppe Lidarti. I’m planning to do a series on Baroque synagogal music soon in case I ever manage to finish the Salzburg Series during my lifetime, which at this point seems rather unlikely, haha.

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