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Telemann: "Don Quixotte: Suites & Violin Concertos"

Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble

rec: June 8 - 12, 2001, Danderyd, Petruskyrkan
BIS - CD-1226 (73'29")

Concerto for strings and bc in D (TWV deest); Overture for viola da gamba, strings and bc in D (TWV 55, D6) (*); Overture in G 'Burlesque de Don Quixotte' (TWV 55, G10); Overture for violin, strings and bc in A (TWV 55, A8) (#); Overture for strings and bc in a (TWV 55, a7)

Nils-Erik Sparf (solo#), Elisabet Bodén (#), Tullo Galli (violin), lars Brolin (viola), Kari Ottesen (cello), Olof Larsson (viola da gamba*, violone), Sven Åberg (theorbo, guitar), Björn Gäfvert (harpsichord)

The title of this CD ist slightly misleading: there are no 'violin concertos' on this recording, only one Overture for solo violin, strings and bc. The Overture seems to have been Telemann's favourite compositional form. His Overtures outnumber the solo concertos by far. These Overtures - or Suites - show a great variety, as this CD amply demonstrates. It starts with one of Telemann's most popular works, the 'burlesque' Don Quixotte and also contains two Overtures with a solo instrument. In some of his Overtures Telemann abondons the traditional dances and replaces them by character pieces, which indicates French influence.
All 'orchestral' works are played with one instrument per part. It allows the first violin, Nils-Erik Sparf, to ornament his part, which would of course be impossible if the first violin part would have been played by two or more players.
The way the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble is playing these works underlines the fact that Telemann's music is anything but 'easy listening' stuff. The playing is vigorous and energetic and doesn't lack biting accents. The 'Don Quixotte' Overture is played with a lot of panache. One could argue that they are even overdoing it a little. For example, the first movement (ouverture) is characterised as maestoso, but that is not how it sounds here. Couldn't it be that if the ouverture would have been played in a more serious manner, the effect of the following movements would have been stronger?
On the whole, though, this CD is a most convincing argument for Telemann's skills as a composer as well as a great display of the qualities of the ensemble.

Johan van Veen (© 2002)

Relevant links:

Georg Philipp Telemann: Catalogue TWV
Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble

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