Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) 20 Fuguettes pour l’orgue ou pour le clavessin (1731)
Fuguette no.14, TWV 30:14 [3:24] Nouveaux Quatuors Parisiens (1738)
Quatuor no. 4, TWV 43:h2 [20:43] Quatrième livre de Quatuors (1752)
Sonate II en Fa majeur, TWV 43:F1 [9:07] Quatuors Parisiens (1730)
Concerto I en sol majeur, TWV 43:G1 [10:47] Nouveaux Quatuors Parisiens (1738)
Quatuor no.6 en mi mineur, TWV 43:e4 [20:05]
Ensemble Nevermind (Anna Besson (flute), Louis Creac’h (violin), Robin Pharo (viola da gamba), Jean Rondeau (harpsichord))
rec. 2017, MC2 Grenoble, France ALPHA CLASSICS 299 [64:08]
Ensemble Nevermind made a good impression via the Alpha Classics label with their
Conversations album, and this Telemann programme also surpasses expectations for range
and sheer variety of musical content, showing how canny 18th century masters were in
making the most out of small chamber ensembles.
Telemann’s influence as a composer spread throughout Europe in the first half of the 18th
century in no small part due to distribution of his chamber music from his own publishing
house. This quality of this work reached the attention of flautist and composer Michael
Blavet, and an invitation went out to Germany for Telemann to join in the salons and
Concerts Spirituel that represented the height of musical fashion in the French capital at the
The quartet format heard in this stylish recording might well have been cooked up between
Blavet and Telemann, but whatever its origins the combination of flute, violin, viola da
gamba or cello and harpsichord ticks all the boxes for contrast of timbre and flexibility when
it comes to applying pretty much any compositional technique of the period. Concerto
movements can be found, as in the Prélude to the Quatuor no. 4, variations appear in
Quatuor no. 6, which opens with a French overture, and dance forms of various kinds that are
disguised under French expression markings such as Coulant or tempo indications such as Vite.
Pieces intended for the consumption of elite concertgoers might be expected to be somewhat superficial, and while there is goodly entertainment to be had throughout, there are plenty of movements and passages which affect the emotions more strikingly that you might have
anticipated. The solemn ecclesiastical origins of the Fuguette that opens this programme makes it a case in point, and while all too brief the fourth movement Largo from the Concerto No. 1 can compete with Telemann’s contemporary, J.S. Bach. Contrast is all, and hardly anything here lingers beyond a five minute duration. More substantial movements, such as the Prélude to
Quatuor No. 6, have their contrasting sections, with improvisatory playing adding spice to slower tempi, and little rhythmic tricks adding spice to the faster sections, played with
improvisatory flair by Nevermind’s expert musicians.
Recorded closely but with an excellent refinement of balance that blends the harpsichord with
the other instruments, this is a production for long-term delight. The Sonate in F major TWV 43:F1 may be a world premiere recording, the present version being one adapted from an
original scored for four strings and continuo. Documentation about the instruments played is
included in the booklet, and all sound very nice indeed, the transverse flute played with sweet
nuance by Anna Besson, who interestingly swaps for a piccolo in the Vite of
Quatuor No. 4.
For Telemann fans and those intrigued by what happens when German baroque meets French fashion, this is a must.
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