A number of composers have written works for
the solo flute sans accompaniment, but very few of these pieces
reach the high levels of quality and creativity that were
achieved by Telemann in his twelve solo fantasias. Like most
baroque instrumental pieces, these works are based on dance
forms with the occasional freewheeling prelude thrown in for
good measure. That Telemann was able to create music that
sounds polyphonic for an instrument incapable of playing more
than one note at a time is perfectly amazing.
The boldness of this music can also be a bit
of a surprise. But if one comes to understand that in the
seventeenth century the flute was seen as a manly instrument,
capable of expressing a wide range of emotions, the vividness
of these pieces makes perfect sense.
Jed Wentz certainly blows the dust off the
scores as he romps through these twelve little masterpieces
with enough panache and showmanship to put Liberace to shame.
Almost daring in his rhythmic liberties, Wentz’s audacity
turns into sheer delight very quickly. The energy with which
he plays conjures up aural images of full orchestras and consorts.
Slower movements almost ache with passion. Compared to Barthold
Kuijken’s graceful gentility and Jean-Pierre Rampal’s phoned-in
performances, Wentz seems to have found the heart of these
works, and dared to make them his very own.
In his charming program note, Wentz almost
apologizes for his interpretations, but then turns around
and says in so many words that he plays the music the way
he feels it, convention be damned. Would that more early music
types could shed their fear of disobeying a treatise and dare
to make music from the soul.
At Brilliant Classics’ super budget price this
disc is a steal. It is indeed one of the most ear-catching
and imaginative performances that I have come across this
year and will merit much repeated listening.
These are bold, daring performances of delightful
music. A most winsome outing indeed.