12 Fantasias for Solo Flute (Telemann)

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Georg Philipp Telemann's 12 fantaisies à traversière sans basse,[1] 12 Fantasias for Solo Flute, TWV 40:2–13, were published in Hamburg in 1732–33. An extant copy of the publication, conserved in Brussels, has a spurious title page reading Fantasie per il Violino senza Basso (Fantasias for Solo Violin).[1] The set is one of Telemann's collections of fantasias for unaccompanied instruments, the others being a set of thirty-six for harpsichord (scores), also published in 1732–33, and two sets published in 1735: twelve for solo violin and twelve for viola da gamba.[2]

Telemann's solo flute fantasias are alone in the Baroque repertoire to include movements seemingly impossible on flute: fugues (fantasias 2, 6, and 8–11), a French overture (fantasia 7) and a passacaglia (fantasia 5).[3] Even though the more limited tessitura and the writing style (e.g. the absence of double stops and chords) refer to a score for traverso, it is more than likely[speculation?] that the fantasias were performed on the violin as well. In 2012, an arrangement for viola solo was published by Euprint.[4] In this arrangement, through the use of double stops, some many-voiced parts appear as real polyphonic pieces.


This work comprises the following:

  1. Fantasia in A major (Vivace—Allegro)
  2. Fantasia in A minor (Grave—Vivace—Adagio—Allegro)
  3. Fantasia in B minor (Largo—Vivace—Largo—Vivace—Allegro)
  4. Fantasia in B-flat major (Andante—Allegro—Presto)
  5. Fantasia in C major (Presto—Largo—Presto—Dolce—Allegro—Allegro)
  6. Fantasia in D minor (Dolce—Allegro—Spirituoso)
  7. Fantasia in D major (Alla francese—Presto)
  8. Fantasia in E minor (Largo—Spirituoso—Allegro)
  9. Fantasia in E major (Affettuoso—Allegro—Grave—Vivace)
  10. Fantasia in F-sharp minor (A Tempo giusto—Presto—Moderato)
  11. Fantasia in G major (Allegro—Adagio—Vivace—Allegro)
  12. Fantasia in G minor (Grave—Allegro—Grave—Allegro—Dolce—Allegro—Presto)

The collection is arranged by key, progressing more or less stepwise from A major to G minor. Telemann deliberately avoided keys that are impractical on the one-key flute, i.e. B major, C minor, F minor and F-sharp major. There are two ways to view the overall structure of the collection: one way, in which the work is divided into two parts, is suggested by the fact that Fantasia 7 begins with a French overture, indicating a start of a new section. This device was also later used by Johann Sebastian Bach in Variation 16 of his Goldberg Variations. Another was proposed by scholar Wolfgang Hirschmann—there are four modal groups of three fantasias: major-minor-minor, major-major-minor, major-minor-major, and minor-major-minor.[5]


  1. ^ a b RISM No. 00000990062490
  2. ^ Anon. 2015.
  3. ^ Zohn 2008, p. 429
  4. ^ Georg Philipp Telemann (composer), Luc Dejans (arranger). Fantasias for Viola solo TWV 40:02-13 (orig. for Flute)-album Euprint, 2012. ISMN 979-0-3654-1300-3
  5. ^ Zohn 2008, p. 428
  • Anon (2015-08-10). "Sensationelle Wiederentdeckung". Zentrum für Telemann-Pflege und -Forschung Magdeburg. Retrieved 2016-02-21. 
  • Zohn, Steven (2008). Music for a Mixed Taste: Style, Genre, and Meaning in Telemann's Instrumental Works. US: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-516977-5. 

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