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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Six Concertos for Two Flutes with bassoon, strings and continuo (1712-1721): in A major TWV 53:A1; in E minor TWV 52:e2; in D major TWV 53:D1; in A minor TWV 53:a1; in G major TWV 53:G1; in B minor TWV 53:h1
John Solum and Richard Wyton (flutes)
Hanoverian Ensemble
rec. Mary Anna Fox Martel Recital Hall, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, August 2004. DDD
MSR CLASSICS MS 1113 [64:45]

Telemann was a prolific composer who wrote a large number of concertos for individual instruments and for various interesting combinations of them. It is therefore not surprising that some of these have yet to find their way onto disc – the six concertos for two flutes given here are billed as world premières. It is not known precisely when they were written but in the booklet Stephen Zohn implies that they probably derived from his period in Frankfurt (1712-1721). He also suggests that a comment made by Telemann relating to "concertos that smell of France" could be applicable to these works. The original instrumentation included an accompanying mandora – a six stringed bass lute – an instrument Telemann himself played. That part is here given on the bassoon, which seems to have been regarded as a legitimate alternative at the time.

All six concertos are in four movements with a slow-fast-slow-fast pattern. The initial slow movements are not mere introductions and tend to be as long as the other movements. Playing on period instruments and following contemporary practice of a single stringed instrument per part, the flutes of John Solum and Richard Wyton and the US-based Hanoverian Ensemble make a good case for resurrecting them. They create an intimate atmosphere and some of the faster music is attractive. Overall, however, I do not feel these are among Telemann’s most inventive works although their merits become more evident with repeated listening. I have no complaints about the recorded sound and the documentation is satisfactory apart from the use of rather small print for listing the tracks and very small print for the recording details and engineering credits.

By way of an aside, I wasn’t previously aware of the TWV numbering system for Telemann’s works. Assuming they are given correctly in the booklet and back-liner of this disc, I find it surprising that TWV 53:A1 and TWV 53:a1 should be used to designate different concertos. Some of these systems seem to be unnecessarily confusing compared to, say, Deutsch’s Schubert catalogue.

This disc is probably not the place to start collecting Telemann concertos. For that I suggest you try the oboe concertos played by Sarah Francis on Regis. Nevertheless, lovers of the baroque flute and "Telemaniacs" will wish to investigate these well-played world premières.

Patrick C Waller

 

 



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