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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger





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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Concertos for Oboe & Oboe D’Amore
Vol. 1
Concerto for oboe in E flat [11:36]
Concerto for oboe in C minor [7:51]
Concerto for oboe d’amore in G [16:17]
Concerto for oboe in E minor [12:54]
‘Concerto gratioso’ for oboe in D [10:05]
Concerto for oboe in F minor [8:26]
Vol. 2
Concerto for oboe in D minor [8:40]
Concerto for oboe in F minor [6:58]
Concerto for oboe d’amore in A major [15:41]
Concerto for oboe in C minor [9:24]
Concerto for oboe d’amore in E minor [7:17]
Concerto for oboe d’amore, flute & viola d’amore [18:01]
Compositional dates for the above works not provided.
London Harpsichord Ensemble / Sarah Francis director, oboe & oboe d’amore)
Graham Mayger (flute)
Elizabeth Watson (viola d’amore)
Vol. 1 recorded at Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, London, Jan. 1992 DDD
Vol. 2 recorded St. Michael’s Church, Highgate, London, 5-7 Jan. 1993 DDD
REGIS RECORDS Vol. 1 RRC 1118 [67:49]
REGIS RECORDS Vol. 2 RRC 1119 [66:37]
REGIS RECORDS Vol.s 1 & 2, Double CD set RRC 2057 [134:26]


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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I can never listen to Telemann’s music without recalling a commentator some years ago saying that Telemann wrote too much music and far too hastily. Sure, Telemann was no great musical innovator but was certainly most influential, prolific and extremely well esteemed by his world famous contemporaries Handel and JS Bach. He wrote for virtually every solo instrument available in his day and for various multiple combinations too. However, the lack of memorable melodies in Telemann’s compositions is generally acknowledged as his main drawback.

In this Regis double CD set, which comprises eight oboe concertos, three oboe d’amore concertos and a triple concerto, all undated, Telemann displays his most gracious style of composition that embraces the finest of the rococo traditions. I recall how well this set was regarded when it was originally released on the now defunct Unicorn Kanchana record label.

Telemann wrote a dozen or so concertos for oboe and string orchestra, eight of which are included on this release. Particularly notable is the concerto in D major on Vol. 1 titled ‘concerto gratiose’ with its attractive pastoral character and fine adagio where the amorous oboe sits so comfortably on the Vivaldian style accompaniment.

Telemann composed at least 22 works featuring the oboe d’amore, an instrument that was extremely popular in mainly German speaking countries between 1720-1760. Three of the concertos are contained here together with a triple concerto that includes the oboe d’amore. Telemann’s attractive solo concertos for this rarely used instrument sympathetically display the available range of colour and contain some most expressive writing that exploits the instrument’s best features.

A real discovery and the undoubted gem of this set is the triple concerto for the unusual combination of oboe d’amore, flute and viola d’amore. The concerto, which is a substantial work of 18 minutes, is not merely a virtuoso display piece. Neither should it be judged simply for curiosity value as it contains some serious and appealing musical ideas. It is a fascinating, melodious and satisfying piece with episodes of real serenity. At times I can hear echoes of Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest’ and the main theme from Geoffrey Burgon’s 1980’s score from the classic TV series ‘Brideshead Revisited’.

Oboe and oboe d’amore soloist, Sarah Francis is an extremely gifted player. Her performances are certainly stylish, ravishing, in fact, displaying a marvellously ripe timbre with considerable technical finesse. Francis also directs the ensemble with excellence making a most persuasive case for these works. Using modern instruments, the playing of the London Harpsichord Ensemble is equally as fine and they really seem to relish playing this repertoire for which they are well suited.

Although I have a passion for period instrument recordings, I was captured by the quality of these polished and enjoyable performances. Combined with a rich, well-rounded and superb digital sound quality, few listeners will be disappointed with this release.

Michael Cookson



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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