Nowadays, Telemann may be called a hack – not in his own time: he was indisputably the greatest – but his 12 fantasies are a high point in the Baroque. They are a muster of freely treated 18th-century form schemes, demonstrating a great variety of structures and inventions. Telemann’s fantasies demand considerable stylistic mastery as well as the ability to “give shape” to a variegated series of terse, not exhaustively elaborated ideas. We find various courtly dances side by side with slow movements whose succinctness does not detract from their profundity. Sometimes a suggested polyphony is audible, due to the use of large leaps between the melody line and the bass.
“Fantasie per il Violino senza Basso”, it says on the title page of the 12 fantasies ascribed to Telemann, but their structure and tonal range seem to indicate that they were written for a flute in d’ (transverse flute and voice flute). Contrary to the late-baroque treble recorder in f’ the voice flute (treble recorder in d’) possesses dynamic characteristics comparable to those of the single-valve transverse flute: the bass tones, particularly important in polyphonic passages, have a full and rounded sound, the high tones are sweet. Employing transverse flute fingering makes the fantasies sound a full tone higher than their notation, thus achieving still greater expressivity. Each fantasy is set in a different key; played on a valveless flute built according to 18th-century principles, this gives rise to a great variety in timbre, produced by using plain and forked fingering.
Instruments: 2 voice flutes in d’ after authentic examples (Frans Twaalfhoven 1992; a 415 hz. – plum wood).