Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit!

Gemütlichkeit.

On Sunday, September 23, 2012, the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra presented Telemann’s Tafelmusik Production II. In addition to being a smash musical success, the eighteen musicians came up with an original idea that they executed themselves to make the concert even more wonderful. Let me tell you about it.

Hi, this is Wheat Williams. I volunteer to do publicity and marketing, among other tasks including maintaining this web site and blog for the Atlanta Baroque.

Telemann’s Tafelmusik series was music written to accompany banquets. It’s light and upbeat and it lifts the spirits. To Telemann’s credit, though, it’s more than just background music. There’s some excellent musicianship involved, and plenty of that was on display.

Just a couple of weeks before the concert, members of the orchestra came up with a great idea, which they all worked together to implement. As usual, we needed to perform Telemann’s “album” of music in the sanctuary of  Roswell Presbyterian Church, where there’s no opportunity for eating. But the orchestra decided to cater the intermission in the lobby and provide free food for the 115 people in attendance. Up in the balcony of the lobby, Julie Andrijeski on violin, Daniel Pyle on Lautenwerk, and Brent Wissick on viola da gamba serenaded the banquet with one of Telemann’s sonatas. The members of the orchestra each brought their own dishes prepared for the event, adding a personal touch with some home cooking. Director Julie Andrijeski even brought a dish prepared with produce from her own garden all the way from Cleveland, Ohio. The orchestra members mingled, ate, talked and relaxed with the audience. Then trumpeter Barry Bauguess blew the call for the intermission to end and the concert to resume, where more sparkling musicianship brought the afternoon to a delightful conclusion.

Gemütlichkeit is an old German word that doesn’t translate directly into English. You might say it means “friendliness” but I think it conveys the sense of well-being that you experience when you are among friends, or when you are at home. The musicians in the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra extended their Gemütlichkeit to everybody lucky enough to attend. We gratefully thank Roswell Presbyterian’s Director of Music, Bruce Graham, his wife and other volunteers, for encouraging and facilitating, and Roswell Pres as a whole for giving us the ideal venue to bring our music to the community.

It’s traditional in Germany to sing “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit”, “A Toast to Gemütlichkeit“. Welcome to one and all.