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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767)
Overture (Suite) in a for recorder & strings, TWV 55 #a2 (1718-1739?) (30.58)
Concerto in F for recorder and strings (13.15)
Concerto in a for recorder, viola da gamba, and strings (14.29)
Concerto in C for recorder and strings (16.48)
Arte dei Suonatori, Aureliusz Golinski, leader.
Dan Laurin, recorder; Mark Caudle, viola da gamba
Recorded at Senior Catholic Seminary, Jordanowo-Paradyz, Poland, November 2000
BIS CD-1185 [76.45]


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The very first book on J.S.Bach I ever read concocted an absurd Mozart/Salieri type rivalry between Bach and Telemann, whose music was denounced as superficially popular and worthless. "Fortunately," the author gloated, "all his music has been lost!" Far from being rivals, Bach and Telemann were great friends and mutual admirers. Telemann was the godfather of C.P.E. Bach, a responsibility he fulfilled with enthusiasm; and, on the death of Bach, Telemann wrote a greatly touching elegiac poem. Only in rare instances is it possible to determine even approximate composition dates for Telemann’s music.

Nowadays Telemann is reckoned as one of the great ones and his music, far from being lost, overwhelms us with its quantity—several hundred overtures are included in the Darmstadt manuscript "TWV 55"—and has become so popular that I wallow in the luxury of being able to compare this recording of the Suite in a to three others of the same work in my collection, as follows:



CD number


Dan Laurin

Arte dei Suonatori

BIS CD 1185


Micaela Petri

Brown, ASMF

Phillips 410 041-2


Frans Brüggen

Tilegant, SWD Kammerorkester

Teldec 9031-77620-2


Michael Schneider

Schneider, Camerata Köln

DHM 05472 77324 2



So it is a contest between English, Swedish, German, and Dutch recorder virtuosi. The Laurin recording is close and full and the Suonatori play with grace as well as punch (Track 1). Petri plays sweetly and crisply, and the ASMF alternates Purcellian pathos with Purcellian glee. Schneider emphasises the Germanic sense of drama and wit in the work and achieves a very natural sound quality (his is probably the most satisfying version overall). Tilegant and Brown each omit a four minute repeat in the first movement and conduct real chamber orchestras—the other two groups are small ensembles. Tilegant’s 1962 analogue sound is beginning to show its age. But in terms of overall playing quality the soloists are all so good that one can hardly now remember the time when the recorder was thought of as an unpleasant or inexpressive instrument, a time when we put up with, breathy, off pitch, squeaky, shrieky playing and praised it as "authentic." The various string groups support the soloist in each case with perfect empathy, no ordinary accomplishment with the intricate rhythms and shifts of colour, and with the soloists following their own hearts in improvising the ornaments. All of the groups perform with a classic sound, taking reasonable but not distracting account of informed original performance practice.

With regard to the other concertos on this disk, we do not have comparisons and one can only say that they are played beautifully and with great enthusiasm. None is a masterpiece of the level of the Suite, but all are engaging. Mr. Laurin teaches recorder at the Stockholm Royal University College of Music, and embellishes the slow movements of the concertos with extravagant roulades and flourishes demonstrating his exceptional ability and engaging musicianship (Track 10). Mr. Caudle is a guest soloist from England and his amiable partnership with Mr. Laurin in the double concerto results in a fascinating play of colours (Track 15). The Handelian sound of the Concerto in C reminds us that Handel and Telemann were also good friends and corespondents and occasionally exchanged music.

Paul Shoemaker

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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