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5.5.07

Telemann Violin Concerti

Available at Amazon:
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Telemann, Complete Violin Concerti, Vol. 2, L'Orfeo Barockorchester, Elizabeth Wallfisch
(released February 27, 2007)

available at Amazon
Telemann Vol. 1
Telemann on Ionarts:
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Recorder Suites/Concerto, M. Steger, Akademie für Alte Musik


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Orpheus, R. Trekel, D. Röschmann, Akademie für Alte Musik


available at Amazon
Overtures, Sonata, Concertos (4 vols.), Musica Alta Ripa


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Flute Quartets, Musica Antiqua Köln, R. Goebel


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Wassermusik, Musica Antiqua Köln, R. Goebel
Is there a new musical nationalism? Historically informed performance ensembles in Europe have been taking on campaigns to record as much music by their respective native sons as possible. Think of all the excellent French Baroque music brought to us by Les Arts Florissants, Le Concert d’Astrée, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Le Concert Spirituel, and many others. Add to that all of the Italian music recorded by Venice Baroque Orchestra, Europa Galante, Il Giardino Armonico, and Concerto Italiano. Ionarts has also been enjoying the Telemann boom on recordings offered recently by German HIPsters like Akademie für Alte Musik, Musica Alta Ripa, and Musica Antiqua Köln. Now L'Orfeo Barockorchester is recording a complete set of the Telemann violin concerti, with their director Elizabeth Wallfisch on the solo parts.

Like Bach and Handel, Telemann confronted the Italian concerto in the first part of the 18th century, adapting it for his own uses as music director in the city of Frankfurt and later as introductions to his operas in Hamburg. Like Vivaldi (and Bach, secondarily), the violin was Telemann's favored instrument, and this collection of concerti for solo violin offers some insight into Telemann's personality as a performer. Some of the most exciting playing is heard in the B minor concerto (TWV 51:h2), including the use of peculiar tone-bending embellishments on the folksy final movement, Telemann's tongue-in-cheek evocation of a "barbarous" Polish dance.

A work of substance is the G major concerto (TWV 51:G7), which also opens with a slow movement, an evocation of the French sommeil or sleep-music style. The fast movements receive a crisp, unified rendition. Another major work is the B-flat major concerto (TWV 51:B1), recorded here for the first time as Telemann set it down in a recently rediscovered full autograph copy. The disc closes on a decidedly odd note, the A major concerto (TWV 51:A4), with organ-like chords by buzzing winds in the bustling first movement. The piece's subtitle, "Die Relinge" (The toad), indicates that that sound, as well as the peeping repeated notes in the solo, is a depiction of amphibian songs.

All of the pieces on this recording make pleasant listening, and most offer musicological interest. Telemann used the A minor concerto (TWV 51:a2), the closest in sound to the Vivaldi concerti, as the overture to his opera Die lasttragende Liebe oder Emma und Eginhard (Hamburg, 1728), and the G minor concerto (TWV 51:G7) was transcribed by J. S. Bach for harpsichord around 1714. Only the first concerto presented here, the C major (TWV 51:C3), sounds a little discombobulated, with lack of tempo agreement between soloist and orchestra. All in all, a welcome addition to HIP nationalism.

cpo 777 089-2

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