The Best of
Naxos 8.556689 [DDD]
Naxos obviously think that Telemann's talents lay in the instrumental field
as there is not a single vocal item on this disc. This, coupled with some
variable performance standards, is a great shame. Should anyone use this
disc as an introduction to one of the most prolific composers that ever lived,
they might well come away with all the wrong impressions.
As Naxos has decided to take a couple of movements of a concerto here, part
of a suite there, the effect is far too fragmentary. So: We start with four
movements (out of seven) of the Recorder Suite in A minor (TWV numbers would
be too much to ask), complete with archetypal, tinkly harpsichord of old
in the background (Jiri Stivin with the Capella Istropolitana). This starts
the trend of pieces that do not show off Telemann's experimental (or even
inventive) side. Only in the Quartet in G from Tafelmusik I is there
any hint of Telemann's textural ingenuity. American Baroque provide a nice
interlude at the half -way point with two movements from a Sonata for
The highlight, without doubt, is the Trumpet Concerto in D. Niklas
Eklund is the sparkling soloist who keeps rhythms crisp and bright. Against
the odds, he also manages to be lyrical in the cruelly high Adagio
first movement. The Northern Chamber Orchestra under Nicholas Ward continues
the happy mood with five movements from the suite, La changeante.
Telemann is, I believe, underestimated to this day. Unfortunately this disc
will do little to remedy the situation.