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Telemann, Complete Violin Concerti, Vol. 2, L'Orfeo Barockorchester, Elizabeth Wallfisch (released February 27, 2007)
Telemann Vol. 1
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