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Georg Philip TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Per Tromba & Corno da Caccia
Suite in F major for two horns, two oboes and bassoon, TWV:F16 [11:11]
Menuet for two horns, TWV40:110 [1:12]
Georg Philip TELEMANN (attributed)
Concerto in F major for two oboes and bassoon [7:05]
Suite in E-flat major for trumpet, two oboes and bassoon [14:21]
Maximilian FIEDLER (fl.1750)
Concerto a 3 in E-flat major for two horns and bassoon [5:46]
Georg Philip TELEMANN
Concerto in D major for trumpet, two oboes and basso continuo, TWV43:D7 [14:56]
Air de trompette in C major, TWV41:C1 [0:59]
March in F major for two horns, three oboes, bassoon and drum, TWV50:F43 [2:15]
Ensemble Eolus
Philippe Canguilhem (oboe), Jean Chamboux (drum)
rec. 2018, Église Notre-Dame, Centeilles, France
RICERCAR RIC397 [57:48]

For their debut recording, Ensemble Eolus – named after the god of the winds – explore some of the byways of the vast and varied output of Telemann and his geographically immediate contemporaries, setting out to execute it only on authentic instruments and in historically informed practices. They have sought to trace the “regimental and military origins” of chamber music for woodwind as well as brass in the Baroque period, and so use a sole bassoon to carry the bass line in the selected pieces, except in two cases.

Their achievement here demonstrates how far such period practice ensembles have come in realising the compositions of a long-distant era with not only formidable accuracy, but also in a manner that is musically appealing rather than raw or unconcerned with the overall aesthetic effect. If the programme seems arcane on paper, the anonymous Suite in E-flat, from a manuscript held by the University of Rostock, includes a dignified Handelian ‘Ouverture’ and a Siciliano, overlaid with a glistening trumpet solo, which are in a similar style to the equivalent movements of the Music for the Royal Fireworks, intimating that Handel’s famous work did not emerge from a cultural vacuum, albeit that the forces used were significantly more numerous in that celebrated instance.

That Suite is a good example of the collegiate sense of interplay that obtains among the performers, as they interact vivaciously for the Aria, and the oboes and trumpet play off each other in its joyful Bourrée. In slower or more solemn movements on this disc, the instruments are nicely integrated, as in the reflective Adagio of the Concerto in F major attributed to Telemann, or the stately opening of his Concerto in D major. The high writing for the trumpet in that work puts Jean-François Madeuf in the spotlight, but he rises to the challenge superbly. Pitted against him, Elsa Franck and Johanne Maître on the oboes are crisp, creating a tone that is contiguous with that of the trumpet but yet also offers a subtly shaded contrast. By comparison they are more wailing and piquant in the Suite in F major which, like some of Telemann’s fully orchestral suites, comprises some descriptive movements. The horns are mellow in that work’s opening, but forceful in the later sections. However, they sound somewhat woolly in the Concerto a 3 by Maximilian Fiedler.

Throughout the disc Jérémie Papasergio performs the bassoon part with a gently rasping quality that draws attention to the fact that its role in this music is often more than simply to provide the underlying accompaniment, but bears real interest in itself, as well as constituting a foil to the timbres of the other instruments. The disc concludes with a lively Aire de Trompette – like the previous Concerto by Telemann, calling upon Elisabeth Geiger’s discreet contribution on the harpsichord – and a March that requires a third oboe and an improvised drum part to simulate the effect of a military parade.

If the music does not break new ground, this recording nevertheless offers an attractive slant upon one of the uses to which the art of music was put in the Baroque era, when composers rarely wrote abstract music for no particular purpose.

Curtis Rogers