Samples & Downloads
Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1727)
Quadro in D for 2 Transverse Flutes and 2 Bassoons, TWV43:D2 [8:06]
Trio in d minor for Transverse Flute, Oboe and basso continuo, TWV42:d4
Quadro in F for Oboe, 2 Bassoons and basso continuo (from Sonata
a 3 TWV42:F16, reconstructed by Sergio AZZOLINI) [10:16]
Quadro in A for 2 Transverse Flutes and 2 Violoncellos, TWV43:A2
Trio in G for Transverse Flute, Oboe and basso continuo, TWV 42:G13
Sonata in g minor for Oboe and Bassoon, TWV41:g12 [9:46]
Trio in e minor for Transverse Flute, Oboe and basso continuo, TWV42:e9
Quadro in E for 2 Transverse Flutes and 2 Violoncellos, TWV43:E1
Epoca Barocca (Marcello Gatti, Elisa Cozzini (transverse flutes);
Alessandro Piqué (oboe); Sergio Azzolini, Al Ikeda (bassoons); Ilze
Grudule, Stephanie Meyer (cellos); Matthias Spaeter (archlute);
Christophe Lehmann (harpsichord and organ))
rec. Deutschlandfunk Kammersaal, 30 November-3 December 2006. DDD.
CPO 777 441-2 [65:57]
Though I hadn’t encountered them before, Epoca Barocca have
made a number of recordings – one for Chandos and five for CPO.
Johan van Veen praised their Chandos recording of the music
of Hasse for refusing to ‘pump up’ the music to sound more than
it is and I found their playing here in Telemann to have exactly
that same quality. (CHAN0711 – see review)
If that’s what you are looking for, go and buy with confidence.
There is, however, another side to the coin, as is so often
the case. I’ve already heard the performances on the new CD
characterised on BBC Radio 3 as somewhat bland and understated.
Like Odysseus, I’m going to steer my way between the Scylla
of recommendation and the Charybdis of criticism with care,
but, like that legendary hero, who was shipwrecked in the process,
I risk some loss. One of the losses, I think, has to be the
idea that Telemann could turn his hand to any medium and produce
first-class results. That’s hardly surprising in the case of
such a prolific composer, but it does run counter to all my
experience, when even music which he labelled Musique de
Table can sound far, far better than the mere background
for dinner conversation which the label implies.
On this new recording I hear all of the technical skill which
Johan van Veen mentions in that Chandos review and, again, in
his review of Epoca Barocca in Trios and Sonatas by Christoph
Schaffrath (CPO 777 116-2 – see review).
What I don’t hear is the power to rise above the ordinary which
I find almost universally in Telemann’s other music and I’m
inclined to blame the composer rather than the performers. Though
I note that rival recordings of individual sonatas on the Lyrichord
and Accent labels are a little faster than here – Melomanie
take just 7:33 for the Quadro in D, on LEMS8028, against
Epoca’s 8:06 – I don’t think that’s the major problem.
All the music here is urbane and charming, with sprightly outer
movements and pensive slow movements, and there is variety of
instrumentation between the works, but there isn’t much more
to it. Maybe on this occasion it might have been better if the
Epoca players had done a little pumping to make it sound a little
less ephemeral. Actually, despite that Radio 3 comment, I think
that they do try to give the music a lift, though not quite
as much as Melomanie, who succeed slightly more in catching
my interest on that Lyrichord recording. Whatever the case,
this CPO CD may be just the thing for playing softly in the
background when guests come round.
There is, however, a better option in the form of a new release
from Linn Records, entitled Tastes of Europe: Telemann
Trios and Quartets. It was recorded in York in March
2010 by Ensemble Meridiana, here making an auspicious recording
debut, and the music is a cut above that on the CPO disc, for
all that it’s also drawn from TWV42 and TWV43 – either that,
or the Meridiana performers make more of it. 60 minutes of sheer
delight on CKD368 – SACD or mp3, lossless and 24-bit downloads
direct from Linn.
Even better is the fact that there is no overlap between these
two recordings, with the Linn featuring TWV42: e11, g5, h6,
and TWV43: G6, F3, a3, plus a Trio now known to have been composed
not by Telemann but by Pierre Prowo.
Both the Linn and CPO discs are well recorded and come with
helpful programme notes – available even with the download in
the case of Linn.
Neither of these new recordings would be my chosen entry-point
for Telemann. A good place to start would be with the various
recordings which Collegium Musicum 90 have made for Chandos
– try CHAN0661 and CHAN0547 for starters – or the budget-price
Hyperion Helios reissue of the A minor Recorder Suite
and other works on CDH55091 (Peter Holstlag and Peter Holman
– see my May 2010 Download
Those who already know some of Telemann’s larger-scale suites
and concertos, and who wish to investigate the Trios and Quartets
could do much worse than the Linn recording. To investigate
this area of Telemann’s output further, I recommend another
CPO recording, Paris Quartets, Volume 1 (777 375-2, with
Messrs Holloway, Mortensen, etc. – see review
by Glyn Pursglove). There’s no overlap with either of the new
recordings, but I’d recommend the new CPO recording only after
trying the other two. Subscribers can try both the CPO recordings
and the Chandos CDs which I’ve mentioned, from the Naxos Music
Library, where you’ll also find the CPO booklet and the other
Epoca Barocca recordings for that label. NML also have rival
recordings of some of the individual works on the new CPO CD.