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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Concertos for woodwind instruments

Concerto in E minor for recorder, transverse flute, strings and basso continuo
Concerto in C minor, violin, oboe, strings and basso continuo
Concerto in A minor for two recorders, strings and basso continuo
Concerto in B minor for transverse flute, strings and basso continuo
Concerto in D major for two oboi díamore, cello, strings and basso continuo
Concerto in B flat major, oboe, violin, two transverse flutes, two violas and basso continuo
Camerata Köln
Recorded 4-7 February 1996 Deutschland Radio Köln DDD
DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI DHM 74321 935572 [62:29]

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi have assembled a fine and varied chamber music programme of six Telemann concertos featuring various woodwind instruments. These exhibit the composer in some of his finest and most varied colours and textures. Expressive charm and melodic appeal is in abundance which is sustained from the first note to the last. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi are to be congratulated for reissuing this collection of previously available material - recorded eight years ago in 1996.

Telemann was by some distance the most distinguished late-baroque German composer and thankfully in recent years many of his exceptionally large corpus of works have become more widely available. Telemann is legendary for his prolific production of vast volumes of music. I am informed that the Telemann Werkverzeichnis (TWV), which is Telemannís complete catalogue of works contains the amazingly high number of 3,600 entries. These include 1,043 Church Cantatas alone. At my last estimate Telemann had 465 chamber works listed.

A genuine connoisseur Telemann familiarised himself with all the major instruments available at that time. The accomplished manner of these six compositions for woodwind, strings and basso continuo bear testament to the composerís indubitable genius. He was the first composer to write for the oboe díamore and the viola as solo instruments in Concerto form; two superb examples this art are contained here. Three of the works feature the transverse flute an instrument that Telemann helped gain acceptance.

The Concerto in B minor for transverse flute, strings and basso continuo, especially in the first movement Presto, is a outstanding example of Telemannís winning collaboration between counterpoint and creativity and fecundity. Particularly impressive is the final movement of the Concerto in B flat major, oboe, violin, two transverse flutes, two violas and basso continuo which displays how Telemann would devise his closing movements with sunny and optimistic dispositions and dance-like buoyancy. His slow movements are frequently captivating and in both the E minor and B minor Concertos the composers advocacy for melody and passionate expression is perfectly demonstrated.

Founded in 1979 Camerata Köln is an ensemble devoted to baroque and classical chamber music, with a special focus on woodwind instruments. The booklet notes inform us of the ensembleís intention to perform early chamber music with players that have a virtuoso command of historical instruments. This is combined with appropriate attention to style and an emphasis on spontaneity and artistic independence.

Camerata Köln offer high-class performances full of joy and affection. The stylish playing is overflowing with warmth and expression. Excellently recorded the woodwind instruments in particular display a delightfully rich timbre and the strings have a attractive tone. The players of Camerata Köln clearly love these marvellous works and are far too respectful to offer bland and plodding basso continuo; which unfortunately tends to be all too common.

Telemannís art is well served by this welcome and pleasing reissue.

Michael Cookson

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