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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
La Solitude à Deux : Duos and Fantasias without bass
Fantasia III for traverso in b minor, TWV40:4 [3:53]
Sonata V for traverso and violin in b minor, TWV40:104 [11:38]
Fantasia VII for violin in E-flat, TWV40:20 [9:04]
Sonata I for traverso and violin in D, TWV40:103 [9:16]
Fantasia I for traverso in A, TWV40:2 [3:24]
Fantasia III for violin in f minor, TWV40:16 [5:04]
Sonata II for traverso and violin in G, TWV40:101 [11:41]
Matteo Gemolo (one-keyed flute: Martin Wenner, Singen, Germany, 2009, after Johann Wilhelm Oberlender (Nuremberg, Germany) c.1730)
Patrizio Germone (baroque violin Ada Quaranta, Turin, Italy, 2007, after Girolamo and Antonio Amati, Cremona, c.1629)
Georg Philipp Telemann: Six Sonates sans basse TWV 40:101-106 (Hamburg, 1727).
12 fantaisies à traversière sans basse TWV 40:2-13 (Hamburg, 1732-33)
Fantasie per violino senza basso TWV 40:14-25 (Hamburg, 1735)
rec. 26-28 May 2017, Gustave Strauven Private Mansion, Schaerbeek, Belgium. DDD.
ARCANA AD110 [53:52]

NB: although I received this for review on CD, it appears that the general release is as a download only. For availability please see end of review.

Many years ago, I regularly used to play Bach’s Orchestral Suite No.2 just before going to bed: it’s ideal late-night music for winding down, not least because of the prominent flute part. This new recording of Telemann’s music for solo flute and solo violin and duos with flute and violin would do very well in that role, perhaps even better.

Don’t expect the music to be too exciting – there’s nothing here to equal the virtuoso finales of Telemann’s concertos or the drunken sailors who end his Hamburger Ebb’ und Fluth, also known as his Water Music. What you lose in excitement is gained in intimacy, hence the slightly fanciful title of this album.

There’s a recent Alpha recording of the Fantaisies for solo flute, TWV40:2-13 from François Lazarevitch (Alpha267). Having missed that when it was released in 2017, I enjoyed it because Lazarevitch’s (unspecified) flute has a more rounded tone than Matteo Gemolo’s copy of a c.1730 original, but I have to admit that I found a whole hour of solo flute works a little too soporific; what Arcana lose on the swings they gain on the roundabout of variety, with solo flute works, solo violin music and duo sonatas alternating. (Not that there isn’t a great deal of variety in the flute solos within their own parameters, as realised by both Lazarevitch and Gemolo.)

There are also several recordings of the solo violin fantasias, including distinguished accounts by Fabio Biondi (Glossa GCD923406) and Rachel Podger (Channel Classics CCS18298). Here again, though Telemann’s music for solo instruments is not with its attractions, as I discovered in reviewing a recent album of his fantasias for solo viola da gamba (Signum SIGCD544 – review), you may prefer just to have the two examples on the new recording.

As for the performers on Arcana, I haven’t come across either before. I believe that this is Matteo Gemolo’s and Patrizio Germone’s first recorded outing. Both acquit themselves well, solo and together and I enjoyed hearing these performances. There’s not much competition in the duo sonatas; you may well prefer flute and violin here to the performance of the whole set by two flutes on a 1997 Naxos recording (American Baroque 8.554132) or on two BIS CDs from 1987 (Clas Pehrsson and Dan Laurin, recorders, BIS-CD-334 and 335).

As usual with press previews from the Outhere group, this originally came to me as an mp3 download at a barely adequate 192kb/s. The CD which I received – presumably for reviewers only – sounds much better. Be careful to obtain a download which offers full-rate mp3; the least expensive that I can find which offers 320kb/s is from 7digital.com (£7.99), with 16-bit lossless at £9.49 and 24-bit at £9.99. It comes without booklet but that can be obtained by subscribers to Naxos Music Library, where the album can be streamed.

Not an essential purchase, then, but very enjoyable when you are in the right mood. Indeed, if you enjoy this release as much as I did, you’ll be pleased to hear that a follow-up is planned, including the duo sonatas TWV40:102, 105 and 106.

Brian Wilson

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