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XXIV Fantasie per il flauto
Tabea Debus (recorder)
rec. 2017, St Mary's Harrow-on-the Hill, London,
TYXART TXA18105 [79:51]

Flautist Tabea Debus has had the refreshing idea to programme Telemann’s twelve Fantasias for solo flute alongside twelve contemporary pieces that constitute reflections on elements of Telemann’s works. In fact, the commission came from the City Music Foundation, London for Debus and it succeeds in one of its major aims – clearly repertoire expansion in these circumstances is a given – of advancing new ways of listening to old music, whether technically, thematically, harmonically or rhythmically.

The Telemann sonatas themselves, some shorn of repeats to get the disc to a palatable total timing of 80-minutes, are played with stylish assurance and technical control. She can take challenging tempos, vesting the fast movements with considerable urgency, and the variety of different instruments she uses throughout the recital ensures that sonic interest never dips. Thus, the vitesse of the vivace of the First Fantasia which is played on an Alto Recorder in G can be contrasted with the expressive breadth of the slow movement of the succeeding Fantasia, played on a mellow-sounding voice flute in D. The pitch of the various instruments varies alters from 415 to 440Hz, dependent on which of the instruments is being played.

Dani Howard picks up the taut articulation of Telemann’s First Fantasia in Two and a half Minutes to Midnight, a supercharged romp on the Soprano Recorder in C. In the case of Alastair Penman’s Mirrored Lines there’s a ‘singing’ instruction to the soloist, which comes across as a kind of overblowing effect – he’s not alone in asking for this effect – and he half quotes ‘his’ Telemann’ Fantasia alongside some groovier licks. Oliver C Leith asks for two recorders in Bendy Broken Telemann No.3 whilst Leo Chadburn is more reflective and intimate in his contribution, songful and slow. Reflecting the fast/slow elements in the original, Fumiko Miyachi contributes Air, and also asks for humming, which contributes a second parallel voicing – a popular move. This is taken further by Max de Wardener who essentially infiltrates himself into the Sixth Telemann Fantasia, co-mingling with Telemann in the opening movement, allowing him to be heard in original guise in the central movement but seeing de Wardener take over entirely in the Sprituoso finale.

Meanwhile, Ronald Corp’s intervals and articulation in Meditation and Gigue pick up Telemann’s procedure without any sense of pastiche. Moritz Eggert prefers to muse on the Ninth Fantasia via the use of two recorders in his Fantasia in Stereo and the modern harmonies are accompanied by some splendid colours and textures. Misha Mullov-Abbado has added two of his own movements to Telemann’s three in the case of the Tenth Fantasia. Like de Wardener, this sets up a fruitful tension and exchange between time periods and devices though here it’s more demarcated – there are certainly Ravelian elements at work in the modern homage. Meanwhile, Frank Zabel is a real shape-shifter in …fizzling out…venturing back and forth across time and space to check in with Telemann, stylistically speaking, and then check out again. Colin Matthews, the senior composer here, prefers a more graceful, reflective Meditation after Telemann.
This enjoyable recital spins some surprises along the way. The use of the recorders in these Flute Fantasias offers variety and the contemporary reflections, whether standalone or interactive, are never less than fluent and engaging.

Jonathan Woolf

12 Fantaisies, No. 1 in A Major, TWV 40:2 [3:16]: No. 2 in A Minor, TWV 40:3 [4:14]: No. 3 in B Minor, TWV 40:4 [2:24]: No. 4 in B-Flat Major, TWV 40:5 [3:25]: No. 5 in C Major, TWV 40:6 [2:15]: Max de WARDENER (b.1972)/Telemann No. 6 in D Minor, TWV 40:7 [5:31]: No. 7 in D major, TWV 40:8 [3:25]: No. 8 in E Minor, TWV 40:9 [3:30]: No. 9 in E Major, TWV 40:10 [6:12]: Misha MULLOV-ABBADO (b.1991)/Telemann No. 10 in F-Sharp Minor, TWV 40:11 [6:10]: No. 11 in G Major, TWV 40:12 [3:41]: No. 12 in G Minor, TWV 40:13 [4:05]
Dani HOWARD (b.1993)
Two and a half Minutes to Midnight (2017) [2:30]
Alastair PENMAN (b.1988)
Mirrored Lines (2017) [2:13]
Oliver Christophe LEITH (b.1990)
bendy broken telemann no. 3 (2017) [2:29]
Leo CHADBURN (b.1978)
Si la passion pour les plantes exotiques (2017) [3:55]
Fumiko MIYACHI (b.1979)
Air (2017) [2:58]
Arne GIESHOFF (b.1988)
Entr'acte (2017) [2:51]
Ronald CORP (b.1951)
Meditation and Gigue (2017) [2:48]
Moritz EGGERT (b.1965)
Fantasia in Stereo (2017) [4:02]
Frank ZABEL (b.1968)
...Fizzling Out... (2017) [4:30]
Colin MATTHEWS (b.1946)
Meditation (after G.P. Telemann's 12 Fantaisies) (2017) [2:15]


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