> Telemann Recorder Suites Rothert [JW]: Classical CD Reviews- Aug 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Suite in A minor for Recorder
Concerto in C major for Recorder
Concerto in E minor for Recorder and Flute *
Concerto in F major for Recorder
Daniel Rothert, Recorder
Elke Martha Umbach, Flute *
Cologne Chamber Orchestra
Helmut Muller-Bruhl
Recorded at the DeutschlandRadio, Funkhaus, Sendesall, December 2000
NAXOS 8.554018 [64’33]


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Telemann seems to have had something of an affinity for the recorder. His settings are extensive and irreproachably effective. Virtuosity and lyricism co-exist with rich and varied stylistic procedures and a pan-European musical sensibility. He clearly had at his disposal players of the utmost virtuosity because these are works that make the highest demands on the performers’ techniques and on this disc, in the person of Daniel Rothert – who also wrote the notes – Telemann is well served. The A minor Suite opens with an Overture in the French style followed by explicitly Italian development and Les Plaisirs, the second movement, is delightfully robust. Rothert only plays in the central section here, surrounded as he is by pointed and rhythmically alive string panels. The orchestra by the way is Hermann Abendroth’s 1923 creation and Muller-Bruhl has now conducted it for nearly forty years - for a decade they played on period instruments as the Capella Clementina but since 1987 they have played exclusively on modern instruments and their discretion and sensitivity are noticeable. The third movement is an Italian aria, of the type familiar from Handel’s Italian operas, and deliciously vocal. As the Suite progresses one can admire the soloist’s secure intonation, the prominent harpsichordist and the accurate line of the strings. The final movement, a Polish dance – Telemann got around a bit geographically – ends with a splendidly realised and performed quiescent flourish.

The C major concerto is a skilful mélange of technical and expressive devices. It is distinctly Vivaldian and exploits internal contrasts to advance the musical argument. I admired the care and emphasis with which the performers asserted the differences in dynamics between the soloist and the orchestral tuttis as I did the apportioning of solo and tutti passages in the tempo di Minuet finale. Rothert is athletic, articulate and accurate. The E minor Double Concerto is written for recorder and transverse flute – uniquely – and features some delightful phrase-chasing in the second movement Allegro as well as unison passages over a now-sturdy, now-light orchestral accompaniment. The Largo has affectionate weight with orchestral pizzicatos and the Flute and Recorder duetting high above like larks. The F major Concerto hearkens back to the Italian ritornello and preserves an individuality of utterance distinct from the other works, a characteristic of this multi talented composer. The rapidity of the articulation in the Allegro contrasts with the simple and short Adagio in a virtuosic but unpretentious work.

Telemann’s fecund muse will doubtless always be underestimated – but for those in the know there are always pleasures galore to be had from absorbing and enjoying his seemingly limitless capacity to synthesise styles in his own inimitable and infectious form.

Jonathan Woolf

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