The term ‘Tafelmusik’ – which Georg Philipp Telemann used to call his three collections of quartets, trio and solo sonatas and concertos – had been around for about a hundred years, as a way of describing music that was appropriate to accompany a feast or banquet. On this A-to-Z edition, a look at some other Table Music, both figurative and literal.
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber wrote a piece called Mensa Sonora, or The Sonorous Table in the 1680s, and it was already understood as a description for chamber works that weren’t of a religious nature, which could be either instrumental or vocal.
Fast forward to the more literal recent past, when Belgian composer Thierry de Mey wrote a work for three percussionists to play using an amplified table:
A work that many attributed to Mozart (including the person who did this manuscript) is written in such a way that two players, across from each other at a table can read from the same score (the piece is also called The Mirror):
This duo is playing a longer version of the above, but you get the idea…