Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in G, TWV 41:G1 [9:55]
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in d minor, TWV 41:d5* [6:46]
Fantasia for Violin Solo in b minor, TWV 40:22 [6:29]
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in g minor, TWV 41:g1 [6:59]
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in d minor, TWV 41:d6* [6:55]
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in A, TWV 41:A1 [11:36]
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in e minor, TWV 41:e8* [7:18]
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in G, TWV 41:G10* [7:31]
Arsenale Sonoro [Boris Begelman (violin), Ludovico Minasi (cello), Alexandra
rec. Lonigo, Italy, 3-5 July 2014. DDD
* world premiere recordings
DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875061582 [64:02]
Perhaps put off by the Parapluies de Cherbourg-style
cover, I started with low expectations. I was very pleasantly surprised.
If you thought that baroque chamber music was all neat and proper, try
listening to track 4, the allegro finale of TWV41:G1 and you’ll
find the sort of energy more normally associated with Haydn’s Sturm
und Drang period symphonies. If you know the super-fast finales
of some of Telemann’s concertos, however, such as that in e minor for
recorder, flute, strings and continuo, TWV52:e11, you won’t
be surprised. You may, however, marvel at the energy which Arsenale
Sonoro display here and elsewhere – all guns blazing, if that’s not
too bad a pun on their name.
If that means a slight lack of compensatory relaxation in the slow movements,
that’s the price which I’m willing to pay for these vigorous performances.
I don’t recall hearing any of the performers before but I look forward
to making their acquaintance again.
One of the more imaginative inventions of the late Oliver Postgate,
in the recently revived children’s TV programme The Clangers,
was a Music Tree. When the wind blew the notes tinkled, like an Ćolian
harp. It’s as if Telemann has filled these sonatas with an arboretum
of music trees but the performers, like a gale, have scattered the notes
from the trees like Milton’s ‘Autumnal Leaves that strow the Brooks
/ In Vallombrosa’. Milton’s leaves, however, were intended to echo
the utter destruction of Satan and his minions: these leaves are still
flying exhilaratingly through the air.
If you know the Corelli sonatas you will find Telemann’s debt to the
Italian apparent throughout. With the exception of the solo violin
sonata TWV40:22, these are Corelli-style sonate da chiesa, slow-fast-slow-fast,
but the music is not without an individual touch, derived in part from
the folk music of North Germany and Poland. It may not be widely performed
or recorded – there is only one other version of some of these sonatas,
and that download only, from Music and Arts – but I certainly advise
against letting that put you off. Four of the sonatas are, in fact,
receiving their first ever recordings and that in itself is a strong
reason to recommend the CD. The vigorous performances add to that recommendation.
The recording is up-front and close to match the performances. The
cello is balanced forward – a little too prominent at times but not
troublesome – and the harpsichord a little backward.
With half of these sonatas receiving their world premiere recordings,
there is no direct rival. Even where there are alternatives, the new
recording is hard to beat if you like your Telemann up-front and vigorous.
If I have small reservations they are no detriment to my recommending
the album overall. If you wish to try these performances first, subscribers
can stream and others sample, with booklet, but you are unlikely to
save much by downloading.
1 Try Reinhard Goebel with Musica Antiqua Köln for a suitably
hectic reading (DG Archiv 4767253) available as a download or as a specially-licensed
CD from prestoclassical.co.uk.
Sample or stream from Qobuz.
Not quite as fast, but still invigorating, Collegium Musicum 90/Simon
Standage on Chandos CHAN0661 – CD or download from theclassicalshop.net
(mp3 and lossless, with pdf booklet)