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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767): "Sonaten - Trios - Concerti"

L'Accademia Giocosa

rec: Oct 24 - 25 & Nov 27 - 28, 2012, Munich, Bayerischer Rundfunk (Studio 1)
Oehms - OC 897 (© 2014) (62'42")
Liner-notes: E/D
Cover & track-list

Concert françois for 2 oboes, 2 violins, 2 violas, bassoon and bc in g minor (TWV 53,g1)bcdghijkl; Concerto for transverse flute, strings and bc in D (TWV Anh 51,D)adfgikl; Concerto for 2 violins, viola and bc in B flat (TWV 43,B1)cegil; Sonata for 2 oboes, bassoon, 2 violins, 2 violas and bc in e minor (TWV 50,4)bdeghijkl; Trio for transverse flute, violin and bc in g minor (TWV 42,g13)aeil; Trio for 2 violins and bc in D (TWV 42,D3)cfil

Henrik Wiese, transverse flutea; Stefan Schilli, Tobias Vogelmann, oboeb; David van Dijkc, Valérie Gillardd, Marije Grevinke, Shunske Satof, violin; Anja Kreynackeg, Lothar Haassh, viola; Johannes Berger, celloi; Makiko Kurabayashi, bassoonj; Alexandra Scott, violonek; Peter Kofler, harpsichordl

There was a time that only a handful of compositions by Georg Philipp Telemann were regularly played. Among them were recorder sonatas, some trio sonatas, the Paris quartets, and his collection Musique de table, plus a couple of vocal pieces. That situation has changed drastically. In recent years a whole flood of Telemann discs has been released, which demonstrated the originality of the composer and the versatility and quality of his oeuvre. However, there is still much to discover, even in the realm of instrumental music. The present disc attests to that as five of the six compositions have been recorded for the first time. That asks for some information about these pieces, but unfortunately the liner-notes confine themselves to some generally-known facts about Telemann's life and career.

The programme opens and closes with two remarkable pieces of the same scoring and texture. They bear different titles which suggests that we shouldn't take these too strictly: one of them is called concerto, the other sonata. On the manuscript of the latter the word concerto has been deleted. However, we have to be careful here: these titles are not necessarily from Telemann's hand, because both pieces have been preserved in manuscript in the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek of Darmstadt and were part of the library of the Darmstadt court. They were copied at the court in the time Telemann's friend Graupner was Kapellmeister there. This suggests that Telemann composed these works during his time in Frankfurt. They are strongly French in character. The title concerto for the work in g minor is based on the title page of the score, but the parts bear the title concert françois. The texture also points in the direction of the French style: the scoring is for two oboes, bassoon, two violins, viola and bass, but the two upper parts reflect the French practice of oboes and violins playing colla parte. The first part is for the first oboe and first violin, whereas the second oboe and second violin share the second part. Both pieces comprise five movements, and if they were preceded by an ouverture one could easily rank them among the orchestral overtures. The opening movements are both slow: grave et détaché and gravement respectively. The fourth movements are most expressive, grave (Concerto in g minor) and tendrement (Sonata in e minor). Both works end with a brilliant fast movement.

The programme includes two trio sonatas which have both been preserved in the library of the Dresden court chapel. That indicates that they are of a much earlier date, and their character proves that. There is much more counterpoint here than in sonatas from especially Telemann's Hamburg years. These sonatas are in the Italian style, following the model of Corelli's sonate da chiesa. There are some passages in parallel motion, but often the two treble instruments follow their own route, with now and then some imitation. The Sonata in D is for two violins, whereas in the Sonata in g minor the scoring of the upper parts seems to be left to the performers. The Petrucci Music Library has various copies of the manuscripts which include indications for violin, but also for oboe(s) and for transverse flute. The latter option is followed here. The first movement (adagio) has a kind of cadenza for the two instruments over a pedal point.

With the Concerto in B flat we are at the Darmstadt court again, as it has been copied for the chapel there. It is a kind of concerto da camera for two violins, viola and bc. It is a rather short work in three movements. It opens with an allegro which is followed attacca by an adagio - which begins with a short passage for violin solo - and the work ends with a brilliant vivace. It is the Italian style which dominates here, and that is also the case with the Concerto in D for transverse flute, strings and bc which is included in the appendix of the Telemann work catalogue. Unfortunately I couldn't find any information about this piece. It has been recorded here for the first time but somehow it sounded familiar now and then, but that could be due to a similarity in style with other pieces from Telemann's pen. I would like to know why this piece has not been included in the main catalogue. Is its authenticity questioned, and if so, why? It opens with a movement which lives up to the indication affettuoso. The third movement (adagio) is for flute and basso continuo alone, without participation of the strings. The piece ends with a menuet and presto; in the latter the flute is accompanied by the strings playing pizzicato.

This description should suffice to indicate that this is a most interesting disc. The recording of previously unknown pieces cannot be appreciated enough, and every single piece in the programme is of excellent quality. This programme once again underlines Telemann's creativity in scoring and texture. L'Accademia Giocosa plays this repertoire brilliantly. The performances are engaging and energetic, with sharp articulations, strong dynamic shading and a convincing choice of tempi. Sometimes the players hold back a little in order to increase the tension.

This is certainly one of the best Telemann discs I have heard recently.

Johan van Veen (© 2015)

Relevant links:

L'Accademia Giocosa

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