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Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Concertos and Chamber Music Vol. 2

Concerto in D minor for 2 violins, viola and basso continuo, TWV 43:D2
Concerto in F major for recorder, bassoon, 2 violins and basso continuo, TWV 52:F1
Sonata in F minor for 2 violins, 2 violas and basso continuo, TWV 44:32
Sonata in D major for cello and basso continuo, TWV 41:D6
Overture in B minor for solo violin, 2 violins, viola and basso continuo, TWV 55:H4
Ensemble Musica Alta Ripa
Danya Segal, recorder; Michael McCraw, bassoon; Anne Röhrig, violin; Ursula Bundies, violin; Cosima Taubert, violin and viola; Christoph Heidemann, viola; Klaus Bundies, viola; Juris Teichmanis, cello; Jacques van der Meer, double-bass; Ulrich Wedemeier, theorbo and baroque guitar; Bernward Lohr, harpsichord.
Rec. Oranienburg Schloss, Nordkirchen, March 2 and October 23-24, 2003. DDD
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For most present-day listeners the music of Telemann inevitably takes a back seat to the zealous popularity of his contemporary J.S. Bach. It is easy to forget that it was Telemann who was the most feted German composer of their day. Bach was respected but certainly not revered.

Both composers have in common prolific production of music. We are told that the Telemann Werkverzeichnis (TWV), which is Telemannís complete catalogue of works contains the amazingly high number of 3,600 entries of preserved works. This includes 1043 Church Cantatas alone. At my last estimate he had 465 listed chamber works listed in his thematic catalogue.

Celebrated German label MDG have assembled a fine and varied chamber music programme of four movement concertos and sonatas plus an overture which shows off the composer in some of his finest and most varied colours and textures. Listeners unfamiliar with Telemann can comfort themselves as each and every one of the works contained here has expressive charm in abundance and sustained musical interest. No bland and plodding keyboard continuo here.

Hanover-based ensemble Musica Alta Ripa utilise a mixed instrumental obbligato in a combination of the theorbo, guitar, double bass and harpsichord in a form which is closely related to Vivaldi's chamber concertos for tonally contrasting instruments. This rich and colourful scoring is heard to significant effect in the Sonata in F minor TWV 44:32 which reveals itself to be a particularly sophisticated work with a full-sound. I particularly liked Musica Alta Ripaís serene interpretation of the meditative largo movement.

Frequently in Telemann works woodwind instruments play a prominent role. He especially favoured the recorder, which is successfully featured in the appealing Concerto in F major TWV 52:F1; an instrument for which the composer typically shows particular fondness and understanding. In this sonata I wish to single out the excellent woodwind playing from Danya Segal on recorder and bassoonist Michael McCraw for special praise.

The annotation is interesting and informative yet can be a difficult read at times. There are also a few mistakes which is unusual for MDG. The engineers have provided a warm and well-balanced sound which is most pleasing on the ear.

Telemannís strength and depth in these chamber compositions is never in doubt and with consistently fine playing from theEnsemble Musica Alta Ripa this is certainly a worthy release.

Michael Cookson

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