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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767): "Six Trios 1718"

Camerata Köln

rec: Sept 23 - 25, 2002, Cologne, Deutschlandfunk (Sendesaal)
CPO - 999 957-2 (© 2004) (69'15")

Trio I in B flat (TWV 42,B1); Trio II in a minor (TWV 42,a1); Trio III in G (TWV 42,G1); Trio IV in D (TWV 42,D1); Trio V in g minor (TWV 42,g1); Trio VI in F (TWV 42,F1)

Michael Schneider, recorder; Karl Kaiser, transverse flute; Martin Stadler, oboe; Sabine Lier, Ingeborg Scheerer, violin; Julianne Borsodi, cello, viola da gamba; Christian Zincke, viola da gamba; Yasunori Imamura, lute; Sabine Bauer, harpsichord, organ

Telemann was a prolific composer for almost any kind of instrument in any kind of scoring. The set of six trios recorded here belongs to a group of four collections which were pusblished during Telemann's years in Frankfurt (1712 - 1721), where he was active both as city music director as well as Kapellmeister of the Barfüsserkirche. Soon after he arrived in Frankfurt he founded a Collegium Musicum, just as he had done in Leipzig before. The members of the ensemble came from the middle class as well as patrician circles, some of whom had considerable technical skills.

To the group of collections written during the Frankfurt years belong the six partitas which form the Cleine Cammer-Musik of 1716. This set and the Six Trios of 1718 are different in two respects. The Trios are technically more demanding than the Partitas, and whereas the scoring of the Partitas is left to the performers, in the Six Trios Telemann specifies the instruments for which they are written. Only in the sixth trio Telemann offers an alternative for the third melody instrument: either cello or bassoon. This means that Telemann was more able to exploit the specific character of the respective instruments. It is quite possible this collection also reflects the educational ideal of the enlightenment as Telemann expressed in the preface of Der getreue Music-Meister (1728-29), where he wrote that the function of music is "to serve one’s neighbour".

The Six Trios are structured symmetrically: the first and last are in three movements, the four in between are of the sonata da chiesa type and consist of a sequence of four movements: slow - fast - slow - fast. Apart from that the second and fifth are in minor keys, the other in major.
In many of the movements the instruments swap roles: first one of the instruments takes the lead, while the other is taking a back seat, and then vice versa. In most sonatas there is a pretty strong contrast between the individual movements. A good example is the Trio III in G, which starts with a very moving 'affettuoso', which is followed by a lively vivace, an expressive adagio and another sparkling vivace. Interesting is also the Trio II in a minor, which ends with a pair of minuets the second of which is for recorder and violin only, with the basso continuo being silent.

The members of Camerata Köln are very experienced performers of this kind of repertoire, and therefore it doesn't surprise that the interpretations on this disc are very good. The affect and the many rhetorical figures of these trios are done full justice by the strongly gestural playing of Camerata Köln. The phrasing and articulation are natural and follow the musical logic. The tempi are well chosen, and there is a very good balance between the instruments, even where the violin could easily dominate its partner, in particular the viola da gamba and the cello in the fifth and sixth trio respectively. I only wish the players would have been a little more generous in the use of ornamentation.

This recording has been released in the year of Camerata Köln's 25th anniversary. Congratulations and many happy returns!

Johan van Veen (© 2004)

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