Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Overture in E minor for two flutes, two oboes, bassoon, two violins and strings, TWV 55:E3 [16:44]
Concerto in D major for two flutes, violin and cello, TWV 53:D6 [20:09]
Concerto in F major for recorder and bassoon, TWV 52:F4 [17:29]
Concerto B flat major for two flutes, oboe and violin, TWV 53:B2 [11:11]
Concerto in G major for two flutes and bassoon, TWV 54:G1 [10:56]
Alexis Kossenko (flute, recorder); Georges Barthel (flute); Jane Gower (bassoon); Alfredo Bernardini (oboe); Lidewij van der Voort (violin); Judith Maria Olofsson (cello); Holland Baroque Society
rec. Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam, 11-13 February 2009. DDD
The unbounded enthusiasm on the face of the cellist on the front cover of this CD gives an idea of the joy in music-making that lies at the heart of this disc.
The youthful Holland Baroque Society continues its self-imposed policy of not having a conductor for performances, but instead inviting an ‘artistic leader’ to guide it through various projects. In this case, flute and recorder player Alexis Kossenko directs the group through five of Telemann’s concertos, composed around 1712 for the landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt.
Unsurprisingly, each work has a prominent part for transverse flute - or, as in the case of the F major concerto, recorder - allowing Kossenko to dazzle the listener with his faultless technique. Being a composer at the head of the latest trends in concerto grosso writing, Telemann makes the flautist share the limelight with some equally complex and affecting music for other soloists and combinations of instruments.
True to form, Telemann delivers a surprise with the opening work on the CD, his Overture in E minor, which is essentially a five-movement concerto grosso for pairs of flutes, oboes and violins, plus bassoon. It is almost a carbon copy of Rameau, with its French-style first movement and subsequent dance sections – including a Lullian minuet (track 3). There is even a very Rameau-esque movement entitled ‘Les Cyclopes’ (track 2), which splendidly evokes the plodding anger of the one-eyed giants.
The ensuing concerto in D for two flutes, violin and cello is more of an Italianate affair with a German twist – an instrumental showcase tempered by rhythmic formality. The concerto in F for recorder and bassoon, meanwhile, is a quieter, more contemplative affair. The asymmetric tonalities of the two solo instruments give a depth to the music which is most pronounced in the Grave movement (track 12), where both soloists shelter beneath an onslaught of slashing string chords.
The final works on the disc – concertos in B flat and G for two flutes, oboe and violin, and for two flutes and bassoon respectively – are plainer affairs, based on the classic concerto grosso model. But even here, Telemann cannot resist showing off his cosmopolitan experience and sense of fun, with a stomping polonaise in the finale to the G major work.
John-Pierre Joyce
Unbounded enthusiasm and joy in music-making lie at the heart of this disc. ... see Full Review