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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767): "Concerti for Wind Instruments"

Il Gardellino

rec: Sept 12 - 14, 2003, Bruges, Concertgebouw (chamber music hall)
Et'cetera - KTC 4004 (R) (© 2016) (60'48")
Liner-notes: E/F
Cover & track-list

Concerto (Septet) for three oboes, three violins and bc in B flat (TWV 44,43)a; Concerto for recorder, transverse flute, strings and bc in e minor (TWV 52,e1)b; Concerto for recorder, viola da gamba, strings and bc in a minor (TWV 52,a1)c; Concerto for transverse flute, strings and bc in D (TWV Anh 52,D) (after Concerto in F, TWV 51,F1)d; Concerto for transverse flute, violin, strings and bc in e minor (TWV 52,e3)e

Peter Van Heyghen, recorderbc; Jan De Winne, transverse flutebde; Marcel Ponseele, Ann Vanlancker, Taka Kitazato, oboea; Ryo Terakado (soloeabde, ; Mika Akiha, violin, viola; Masanobu Tokura, violae; Martin Bauer, viola da gambac; René Schiffer, cello; Frank Coppieters, violone; Shalev Ad-Elbc, Robert Kohnenade, harpsichord

These recordings by Il Gardellino were first released by the Belgian classical channel Klara on its own label in 2003. They were probably not widely available in that form, and therefore this reissue is most welcome, even though the programme includes pieces which are quite well known and available in various interpretations. It seems likely that the booklet includes the original liner-notes. Jan De Winne writes that "Telemann's reputation can still use a little revaluation". Right now that is hardly necessary, considering the increasing number of discs with his music which are released every year.

The title is a little imprecise. These are not concertos with only solo parts for wind instruments: in two of them the wind instrument is joined by a string instrument and the closing Concerto in B flat is strictly speaking not a concerto like the others, as the alternative title of Septet indicates.

Whereas Johann Sebastian Bach always followed the Vivaldian model in his concertos, Telemann generally preferred the form of the Corellian sonata da chiesa with its four movements. That is the case with the Concerto in e minor (TWV 51,e1) which opens the programme. It is one of Telemann's most popular concertos in which he juxtaposes the 'old-fashioned' recorder and the fashionable transverse flute. The movements are strongly different in character. The first is an expressive duet of the two instruments in thirds, the second a dramatic allegro in Italian style. The closing presto is one of the many pieces in Telemann's oeuvre which reflect his admiration for folk music, here music from Poland. In the last episode it quotes a Polish popular song.

Corelli's influence is also present in the Concerto in e minor (TWV 52,e3) for transverse flute and violin which is in five movements: fast - slow - fast - slow - fast. Although this is a double concerto it is the violin which has the lead. The third movement is a presto which includes a brilliant solo part for the violin; the flute doesn't participate here nor in the ensuing adagio which is little more than a transition to the closing allegro and lasts just 40 seconds.

Telemann often composed pieces for uncommon scorings, as the Concerto in a minor for recorder and viola da gamba shows, although the solo instruments have in common that they were both old-fashioned and basically belonged to the 17th century. Stylistically this concerto is anything but old-fashioned. It opens with a grave in French style which includes dotted rhythms. It then turns Italian with a lively and theatrical allegro and an expressive dolce, and closes with an allegro which reflects once again Telemann's liking of folk music.

The Concerto in D is a bit confusing: it has been included in the appendix of the Telemann work catalogue. Those who are familiar with Telemann's music and also recorder aficionados will recognize this concerto: it is better known as a concerto for recorder in the key of F major. This version for transverse flute is probably a later arrangement. Wolfgang Hirschmann, in his liner-notes to Vol. 5 in the series of discs with Telemann's wind concertos recorded by La Stagione Frankfurt, states that the recorder version seems to be the original one. It opens with an affettuoso; in particular in the second movement the flautist has a virtuosic part to play. After an expressive adagio the concerto closes with a pair of menuets.

The disc closes with a peculiar piece: the Concerto or Septet in B flat is scored for three oboes, three violins and bc. The outer movements are dialogues between the two groups of instruments. The last movement opens with phrases in which they swap roles: first the oboes play a phrase with interventions from the strings and then it is the other way around. In the middle movement the two groups are mixed.

It is played here with much panache by Il Gardellino. This performance is indicative of the whole disc. These performances may be over fifteen years old, but they are still as fresh as if they were recorded yesterday. The soloists do an excellent job; both Jan de Winne and Ryo Terakado deal impressively with the sometimes virtuosic parts they have to play. Peter Van Heyghen and Martin Bauer deliver a very fine performance of the Concerto in a minor. Even if you have these pieces already in your collection, you should consider adding this one because of the engaging performances by Il Gardellino.

Johan van Veen (© 2016)

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