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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Frankfurt Sonatas for violin and harpsichord
Sonata No. 1 in G minor, TWV 41:g1 [9:05]
Sonata No. 2 in D major, TWV 41:D1 [14:01]
Sonata No. 3 in B minor, TWV 41:h1 [11:00]
Sonata No. 4 in G major, TWV 41:G1 [9:12]
Sonata No. 5 in A minor, TWV 41:a1 [11:19]
Sonata No. 6 in A major, TWV 41:A1 [11:22]
Gottfried von der Goltz (violin)
Annekatrin Beller (cello), Torsten Johann (harpsichord / positive organ), Thomas C. Boysen (theorbo)
rec. 2018, Ensemblehaus, Freiburg, Germany
APARTÉ AP217 [66:01]

My admiration for the Baroque violin sonata began with a splendid release I still have on audio cassette of Ruggiero Ricci playing the Vivaldi sonatas Op. 2 (issued in 1985 on the Etcetera label). It is an understatement to say I am delighted with this new Aparté album of Telemann’s Frankfurt Sonatas played by Gottfried von der Goltz. It is one of the finest releases of Baroque sonatas I have encountered. A distinguished early-music specialist, von der Goltz is particularly noted for his work as music director of the Freiburger Barockorchester, a renowned period-instrument ensemble.

It was in 1715 when the first edition of Telemann’s Six Sonates à Violon seul, accompagné par le Clavessin (Six Sonatas for solo violin, with harpsichord accompaniment) was published in the free Imperial City of Frankfurt am Main – hence the name Frankfurt Sonatas. These were the first works Telemann elected to have published, a product of his time as city music director and kapellmeister in Frankfurt at the Barfüßerkirche and Katharinenkirche. He dedicated the set to Prince Johann Ernst IV of Saxen-Weimar. The Prince, a music lover who actually composed, died soon after the publication of the set.

All six Sonatas follow a four-movement design. Telemann melded the French and Italian style dance music that he knew, undoubtedly influenced by Corelli’s set of violin sonatas Op. 5 (published in 1700) and Vivaldi’s Op. 2 (published in 1709).

The title “Sonata for solo violin with harpsichord accompaniment” might be misleading: the set is intended for basso continuo accompaniment. Here, von der Goltz’s baroque violin is accompanied by cello, harpsichord or positive organ, and theorbo – all period instruments.

One soon senses that the players have complete empathy for these works. The recording session was clearly a labour of love, as both technically and artistically the players seem to play as a single entity. To my taste, the choice of tempi is judicious; the rhythmic precision and clarity of articulation are of an elevated standard. Plenty of vitality is afforded to the quicker movements, and the slower movements have a splendid beauty of line. It is hard to fault the contribution of the rich basso continuo. I especially enjoyed the role of the harpsichord or positive organ.

The recording was made by Little Tribeca, the parent of the Aparté label. The sound quality is top-drawer; the period instruments have a lovely tone. The accompanying booklet contains a pair of helpful essays, one by Martin Bail and another by keyboard player Torsten Johann.

Now a key part of my Baroque chamber music collection, this is certainly an album to treasure. One hopes that von der Goltz will next turn his attention in the recording studio to Vivald’s above-mentioned Op. 2 set, and maybe to Telemann’s other violin sonatas.

Michael Cookson

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