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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Complete Violin Concertos - Volume 2

Violin Concerto in C major TWV 51:C3 (1724) [7:30]
Violin Concerto in G minor TWV 51:g1 (1713-14) [6:41]
Violin Concerto in B minor TWV 51:h2 (before 1716) [5:48]
Violin Concerto in G major TWV 51:G7 [11:25]
Violin Concerto in A minor TWV 51:a2 (1728) [8:53]
Violin Concerto in B flat major TWV 51:B1 Pisendel Concerto (1719) [11:32]
Violin Concerto in A major TWV 51:A4 [11:42]
Elizabeth Wallfisch (violin and director)
L’Orfeo Barockorchester
rec. Sendesaal des SWR Studios Karlsruhe, September 2004
CPO 777 089-2 [64:21]

Elizabeth Wallfisch and L’Orfeo Barockorchester are taking things slowly. They first recorded some Telemann concertos for CPO back in September 2002 which constituted the first volume of their Complete Concerto series. Almost exactly two years to the day they returned to the Sendesaal of SWR Studios in Karlsruhe to record the second volume of what I take to be a three-disc collection. Just over two years later the volume is released.
The first disc was one I greatly enjoyed (see review) and the second equally so. The performances are poised and accomplished, with clarity in the string parts and detail etched in the oboe writing. L’Orfeo Barockorchester is made up 7-2-2-1 in the strings with two oboes, a bassoon and a harpsichord/organ – original instruments obviously. This collection helpfully explores different keys throughout, whilst ranging from the early 1713-14 G minor to the 1728 A minor. So there is variety here, textually and stylistically, a quality reinforced by the inclusion of the so-called Pisendel Concerto of 1719, a superior work in all respects.
The C major is one of those concerti originally written as an opera sinfonia. It has bright flourishes and grand rubati and ends with a confident and stately Minuet, strong on oboe colour. The alternation of solo and ripieno is very audible in the early G minor concerto whilst the adagio embraces the “pathetic” with conviction. This was a work that J. S. Bach, then on good terms with Telemann, arranged. The playing here and elsewhere is precise yet warmly affectionate. Wallfisch plays the opening Affetuoso of the B minor with rare agility and refined aerial grace and the bass line is given sufficient weight to sustain the melodies but not enough to overbalance the string texture. In his finale Telemann turns to a favourite Polish Dance form, flecking it with the French Rigaudon to create a stylistic entente between them.
The G major is rather more advanced thematically than its companions. It weaves the solo violin into the fabric of the score with great skill and rather sets its face against the kind of ripieno concerto that he’d so long written. There is vigour a-plenty in the Allegro but even better is the serious Siciliana. The A minor returns to the theme of opera sinfonia. It’s vigorous, athletic and makes some real digital demands of the soloist. The Pisendel Concerto is apparently heard absolutely complete for the first time on disc. The melody lines and shifting polyphony are a treat but the Andante is probably the highlight. It’s a simply ravishing aria and is played here with refined sensibility by Wallfisch and the orchestra. Finally there is the A major, the composer of which has never conclusively been shown to be Telemann. The frog imitations are humorous and pervasive, the violin writing is unusually high but there are plenty of drones in the finale to compel interest and indeed amusement.
The consistently high standards set in the opening volume have been singularly well met here in finely -recorded and stylistically aware traversals.
Jonathan Woolf


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