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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
The Recorder Sonatas
Sonatina in a minor TWV 41,a4) 07:54]
Sonatina in c minor (TWV 41,c2) [06:41]
Sonata in f minor (TWV 41,f1) [10:10]
Sonata in C (TWV 41,C2) [07:07]
Sonata in B flat (TWV 41,B3) [06:16]
Sonata in F (TWV 41,F2) [05:56]
Sonata in d minor (TWV 41,d4) [08:43]
Sonata in f minor (TWV 41,f2) [06:23]
Sonata in C (TWV 41,C5) [06:58]
Erik Bosgraaf (recorder)
Francesco Corti (harpsichord)
rec. April 2015, Kruiskerk, Burgum, Netherlands DDD

Recorder players often complain about a lack of repertoire. There is at least one composer who doesn't give them any justification for complaint. Georg Philipp Telemann composed a large number of pieces of all kinds for recorder or with substantial recorder parts. In addition, a number of pieces from his pen are intended for any instrument as desired, including the recorder. The present disc includes the complete sonatas for recorder and basso continuo from his pen.

A number of them were included in collections which Telemann often published himself. They were intended for a wide circle of - mostly non-professional - recorder players from all echelons of society. The periodical he published in 1728/29, Der getreue Music-Meister, was typical for the time: periodicals were the preferred way representatives of the Enlightenment disseminated their views. The various movements were spread over several issues in order to increase sales.

An important collection of chamber music was the Essercizii Musici which was probably put together in the 1720s. It includes twelve solo sonatas for various instruments, including two for recorder, and twelve trio sonatas. The least-known collection represented here is the Neue Sonatinen which could be identical with some works Telemann advertised in 1731. Four of the six sonatinas are for violin, two for recorder, bassoon or cello. Unfortunately only the solo part has been preserved. Two of the violin sonatas could be reconstructed on the basis of an arrangement found in the Sächsische Landesbibliothek in Dresden. These two sonatas are examples of pieces which can be played on another instrument than that originally intended.

As the repertoire for the recorder is relatively limited, there is little chance that a disc with recorder music includes first recordings. That is not the case here either. But one piece is relatively seldom played: the Sonata in f minor (TWV 41,f2). It is part of a manuscript of mostly German sonatas preserved in the library of the Brussels conservatoire. There are some doubts about its authenticity, but in his liner-notes David Lasocki suggests it is a piece from early in Telemann's career.

At that time he became acquainted with folk music, especially from Poland and Moravia. This had a lasting influence on his development as a composer. Like other composers he was a representative of the 'mixed taste', the mingling of Italian and French features with the German contrapuntal tradition. To that he added elements of folk music, which are also included in several of the sonatas recorded here.

Some music lovers may think that Telemann was the composer of easy-listening stuff. Think again and listen to, for instance, the opening movement from the Sonata in f minor (TWV 41,f1) - a piece for recorder or bassoon - which is called triste and includes quite some chromaticism. The Sonata in c minor (TWV 41,c2) - one of the Neue Sonatinen - closes with a vivace which is characterised by frequent modulations. Another expressive movement is the larghetto from the Sonata in C (TWV 41,C5). There are also some interesting textures, for instance the Sonata in B flat (TWV 41,B3), which is entirely written in canon at the unison. In the second movement of the Sonata in f minor I just mentioned episodes for the recorder alternate with passages for the basso continuo.

I already indicated that the music on this disc is available in other recordings. I would like to mention here a set of six discs on the Swedish label BIS which includes Telemann's complete output for recorder. However, this disc is a real winner and deserves to be part of the collection of every recorder or Telemann aficionado. Erik Bosgraaf is one of the world's most gifted recorder players, a real virtuoso but also someone with a good sense of style. Sometimes - in live concerts - he can go a little overboard once in a while, for instance with exaggerated ornamentation or breakneck speeds. There is nothing of that sort here. Some movements are taken at high speed but never at the cost of a clear articulation. In a few movements he includes a very high note which is probably not really needed, but all in all there is hardly anything to complain about. This is a fine demonstration of the art of the recorder and of Telemann's almost limitless creativity. And I should not forget to mention the outstanding support by Francesco Corti at the harpsichord, who is in every way Bosgraaf's congenial partner.

Johan van Veen



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