Notes and Editorial Reviews
Among the world's great Baroque orchestras, there are three that belong in a class by themselves: Les Violons du Roy in Quebec, Canada, and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and Musica Antiqua Köln, both in Germany. Listeners have come to expect the highest level of performance from these ensembles, upheld with unwavering consistency and unsurpassed authority--and, not least, marked by these orchestras' and their directors' understanding of what makes a performance really exciting for listeners. Now these are tough standards to maintain, but once again, one of this holy triumvirate has come through with a solid and unsurprisingly first rate effort. This time it's Musica Antiqua Köln in a program of seven Telemann concertos for various
combinations of strings. Director Reinhard Goebel makes a point in the liner notes of the Polish influences in Telemann's music, and indeed these and others--especially Italian--are evident throughout these concertos. In fact, styles often clash within the same piece, and it's interesting to hear Goebel's and the orchestra's unreserved expression of these colorful moments. The works range from the second-drawer Divertimento in A major to some top-flight, edge-of-your-seat exciting stuff (the opening of the B-flat major divertimento, for instance). There's also a terrific concerto for two solo violins and another for viola. If there's a weakness, it's in the several uninspired movements sprinkled among the sturdier, more eloquent ones. For the most part, we're hearing some of Telemann's most irresistible, ingeniously written music for strings, and if the idea of these pieces is entertainment, it does the job and then some. The close-up, vibrant sound is very realistic if just a bit edgy.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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