Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)

He was perhaps the most prolific German composer of the late Baroque era.  Some concept of his enormous output can be gained from the fact that he wrote more than forty operas, about three thousand cantatas and motets with orchestra or organ, six hundred overtures, forty-four passion settings, and equally numerous works for special occasions such as funerals, wedding, coronations, and consecrations.

His fame was considerably greater during his lifetime that that of J. S. Bach.  The last forty-six years of  his life were spent in Hamburg, where he was director of music for the city.  He took this position in preference to that of cantor of St. Thomas Church in Leipzig.  The latter position was then assumed by Bach, who after Telemann was second choice of the church council.  Telemann remained relatively unknown during the 19th century and early part of the 20th century.  However, the revival of interest in Baroque music during the past fifty years has brought his music to the fore again, particularly the orchestral and chamber music.