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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
III Trietti metodichi e III Scherzi
Trietto 3 in d minor (TWV 42,d1) [09:22]
Scherzo 3 in D (TWV 42,D3) [06:08]
Quartet for 2 violins, 2 bassoons and bc in a minor (TWV 43,a1) [07:43]
Trietto 1 in G (TWV 42,G2) [08:21]
Scherzo 1 in A (TWV 42,A1) [08:06]
Quartet for transverse flute, violin, bassoon and bc in d minor (TWV 43,d3) [07:56]
Trietto 2 in D (TWV 42,D2) [07:59]
Scherzo 2 in E (TWV 42,E1) [07:34]
Parnassi musici (Takashi Ogawa (transverse flute); Margaret MacDuffie, Matthias Fischer (violin); Sergio Azzolini, Ai Ikeda (bassoon); Stephan Schrader (cello); Diego Cantalupi (archlute); Martin Lutz (harpsichord, organ))
rec. 25, 27, 28 February 2006, Hans-Rosbaud-Studio of Südwestrundfunk, Baden-Baden, Germany. DDD
CPO 777301-2 [63:21] 
Experience Classicsonline


Apparently Telemann's music enjoys a growing popularity among ensembles of baroque music; discs devoted to his music appear with great frequency. That is understandable: the more one listens to his music the more one is surprised by the versatility of his oeuvre and his inexhaustible imagination. His output is huge but he never seems to repeat himself. The six trios which are the core of this disc are impressive testimony to that.
 

The very title of this collection, 'III Trietti metodiche e III Scherzi', printed in 1731, is remarkable. 'Trietti' is the diminutive of 'trio', so Telemann presents them as 'little trios'. It isn't just the 'trietti' which are written in the form of trio sonatas, it's the 'Scherzi' as well. And this title has to be taken literally: Telemann liked musical jokes, and these 'Scherzi' are examples of that. The word 'metodiche' also needs explanation. The word 'Methode' (method) was often used for material meant to instruct players or composers. In this case it was the art of ornamentation which was the subject of the 'trietti metodichi', just like the 'Sonate metodiche' which Telemann had published some years earlier. To that end he added ornamented versions of the slow movements. 

This aspect shows that these sonatas were first and foremost written for the growing market of amateur musicians, who longed for not too difficult, but still first-rate music. The scoring reflects this: although these sonatas were conceived for two violins and bc, the upper parts could also be played on two transverse flutes. The flute was quickly becoming the most fashionable instrument, in particular among amateurs. In his liner-notes Karl Böhmer underlines the importance of a performance with two instruments of the same kind. "In many movements, Telemann is so demonstratively striving for tonal melding - through stretto and parallel thirds and sixths - that any tonal dissimilitude between the voices would be to the detriment of the music". Therefore all trios are played here with two violins. 

The transverse flute is played here in the two quartets. The Quartet in a minor is one of the so-called 'Paris Quartets' and performed on this disc with two transverse flutes and two bassoons with additional basso continuo. The Quartet in d minor has been attributed to Handel - called 'Concerto a quattro', but in another source it is attributed to Telemann. Up until now it has not been possible to identify the composer. Karl Böhmer suggests it could have been a 'co-production' by the two as they were good friends and exchanged musical ideas. 

The trios show great variety in styles and musical ideas. The first movement of the Trietto 1, for instance, is a fugue, whereas the last movement is much more light-hearted. The Trietto 2 is a kind of tribute to Corelli, and that is very suitable as Corelli was the father of the trio sonata. Telemann even wrote a series of 'Sonates Corellisantes' in his honour. The American ensemble Rebel has recorded a splendid disc with some of these sonatas and sonatas by Corelli himself on Dorian Records. The Trietto 3 begins with a movement in which the theme has been given a chromatic counterpoint and which contains a number of strongly contrasting rhythms. The Scherzo 1 is written in the style of Polish folk music, as Telemann did in several 'Concertos polonois'. The second movement is a polonaise. A musical joke is the first movement of the Scherzo 2: the principal theme modulates a number of times before returning to the original key. It is certainly something none of his customers would have expected. 

The ensemble Parnassi musici makes the most of this repertoire. They play with zest and imagination. The many twists and turns in these sonatas are fully explored. Whether they made any use of the examples of ornamentation Telemann has given in his publication isn't indicated. They don't need them, but it would certainly be interesting to hear the kind of ornamentation Telemann proposed. The quartets are also well played, in a somewhat different scoring than usual. In the Quartet in d minor the cello part is played on the bassoon, which is a legitimate choice, but it seems to me the balance between the instruments is suffers somewhat as a result. In particular in the last movement the transverse flute is sometimes overshadowed somewhat by violin and bassoon. 

Not only does this disc once again show how good a composer Telemann was, it is presents music that is just very enjoyable and entertaining. Recording and booklet give no reason for complaint, so nothing should deter you from purchasing this disc.

Johan van Veen



 
 


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