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George Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) 
Complete Violin Concertos - Volume 7
Overture-Suite in A major, TWV55:A8 [22:05]
Concerto in G major, TWV51:G4 [12:03]
Overture-Suite in A major, TWV55:A4
The Wallfisch Band/Elizabeth Wallfisch (violin)
rec. September 30-October 3, 2013, Kirche La Baleine, France
CPO 777881-2 [57:04]

I can find no explanation as to why this lovely contribution to the recorded canon of Telemann’s music has taken eight years to be released. The other six volumes are certainly available from CPO, with volume 6 having appeared five years ago. One thing does stand out: the disc includes only one work entitled Concerto but two entitled Overture-Suite. All three are, however, listed in the Telemann-Werke-Verzeichnis as scored for solo violin, strings and continuo, the most obvious difference being that the concerto from TWV51 has the traditional three movements, whereas the suites from TWV55 have eight and six movements respectively. Whether CPO has any more volumes planned or archived I have no idea, but the TWV51 listing includes twenty-five solo concertos and several others for two, three and four violins within TWV52, 53 and 54. It can never be forgotten that Telemann wrote over three and a half thousand compositions, so claims to completeness need a lifetime to fulfil in many categories. The sadly defunct series of orchestral suites made by Caro Mitis in Russia never came anywhere near the extant eighty or so works before going silent and did not reach either of the current works. There are believed to have been over two hundred such Overture-Suites. The concerto TWV51:G4 has at least one other recording.

Enough of catalogues; what about the music? I can really only say that it is delightful from first note to last, aided by the astonishingly fluent playing of Elizabeth Wallfisch and her eponymous colleagues. And where is Ms Wallfisch these days? Has she hung up her violin? I do hope not. She did not win the 2021 Georg Philipp Telemann Prize, awarded annually by the German town of Magdeburg where he was born, for nothing. These performers prove yet again that Telemann was not merely productive, he was also full of creative imagination. I am rather inclined to view him as the Germanic equivalent of Vivaldi who was similarly blessed by the possession of apparently unlimited ideas. We must always remember that the great J.S. Bach “only” reached just over a thousand in the BWV catalogue because so much was lost in various fires over the centuries. The output of compositions of these composers beggars belief.

The CPO production, notes and recording, are excellent. There is a lovely sense of space in the church in La Baleine – one assumes Saint-Pierre but this in not given in the documentation. Whether or not one has any of the other volumes, this should be added to the library.

Dave Billinge

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