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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Concerto TWV 54: D3 for 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, strings & basso continuo in D major [9.52]
Concerto TWV 53: h1 for 2 flutes, calchedon, strings & basso in B minor (Dresden Version) [12.01]
Concerto TWV 44: 43 for 3 oboes, 3 violins & basso in B flat major [7.48]
Sonata TWV 44: 32 for 2 violins, 2 violas, violoncello & basso in F minor [7.04]
Concerto TWV 53: F1 for mandolin, hammered dulcimer, harp, strings & basso in F major (from Tafelmusik, arr. Peter Huth) [15.23]
Concerto TWV 53: d1 for 2 oboes, bassoon, strings & basso in D minor [8.59]
Concerto TWV 54: D2 for 3 horns, violin, strings & basso in D major [9.29]
Concerto TWV 43: G5 for 2 violins, viola, violoncello & basso in G major: Adagio [1.29]
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
rec. 19-22 September 2016 Teldex Studio, Berlin
Work listing at end of review
HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902261 [72.20]

This Harmonia Mundi release marks the 250th anniversary of the death of distinguished late-Baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann. Born at Magdeburg, Germany in 1681 just four years before J.S. Bach, Telemann is considered one of the greatest composers of the early 18th century, and is legendary for the vast quantity of music he produced: over 3,000 works.

Titled Concerti per molti stromenti Harmonia Mundi have compiled an impressive Telemann album featuring unconventional multi-instrument groupings. Here the programme is comprised mainly of concertos mostly accompanied by strings and basso continuo scored for: triple trumpets, timpani and a pair of oboes; a pair of flutes and calchedon (a type of long necked lute that he employed in more than 400 works); triple oboes and violins; a pair of oboes and bassoon, triple horns and violin; a single movement Adagio for a pair of violins, viola and cello. There is the concerto from his Tafelmusik (Production No. 3) arranged by Peter Huth for the intriguing combination of mandolin, hammered dulcimer and harp. In addition there is a sonata scored for pairs of violins and violas and cello. All these works were composed around the period 1710/20 with the exception of the Tafelmusik concerto written in 1730.

Founded in East Berlin in 1982 Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin give top drawer performances using period instruments. With Telemann’s broad palette of orchestral colours the ensemble provides, in abundance, playing that is stylish, consistent, brilliant and virtuosic with considerable warmth and expression. The unity of the group is gloriously moulded is the unity of the group, directed from the violin by concertmaster Georg Kallweit. There is certainly no bland and plodding basso continuo to worry about, which unfortunately can be all too common in releases of this type. Especially satisfying are the rich timbre of the distinguished woodwind and the striking sonority of the trumpets and horns.

Recorded at the renowned Teldex Studio, Berlin the period instruments are beautifully balanced, with the warm sound having an agreeable clarity. As one has come to expect from this label the presentation of the release is exemplary, with an informative booklet essay by Peter Huth together with a specific note about the calchedon and photographs.

On one of the finest albums of Baroque music I have encountered for some time this impressive performance from Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin is clearly a labour of love.

Michael Cookson

Previous review: Brian Wilson 



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