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Six Transcriptions / Francis Colpron

Tartini / Paganini / Bach / Marais / Telemann
Release Date: 04/29/2014 
Label:  Atma Classique   Catalog #: 2677   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Niccolò PaganiniGeorg Philipp TelemannMarin MaraisJohann Sebastian Bach,   ... 
Performer:  Francis Colpron
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SIX TRANSCRIPTIONS Francis Colpron (rcr) ATMA 2 2677 (61:13)

PAGANINI Caprice No. 24 in a. TELEMANN Fantasias for Solo Violin: No. 4 in D, TWV 40:17; No. 8 in E, TWV 40:21. MARAIS Variations on Les folies d’Espagne. Read more class="COMPOSER12">BACH Partita for Solo Flute in a, BWV 1013. TARTINI Variations on the Gavotta from Corelli’s Sonata for Solo Violin in F, op. 5/10

These are the performer’s own transcriptions of works originally composed for the violin. (The exception is the set of variations by Marin Marais, originally composed for the viola da gamba.) As Colpron himself points out in the booklet note, transcribing violin music for the recorder is not as simple as switching instruments. No one recorder has the range of a violin. (If you put all the members of the recorder family together, they would exceed the violin’s range, but Colpron limits himself to one recorder per transcription, although he plays several different recorders throughout the course of this CD.) Furthermore, recorders cannot play more than one note at a time, which a violin can do, of course, by means of double- and triple-stopping. (The recorder can approximate harmonies by playing, in rapid succession, the notes that spell the chord.) Also, the violin can play both more softly and more loudly than the recorder; recorder players run the risk of playing havoc with pitch if they push the instrument too hard—or not hard enough!

Given these limitations, it is perhaps surprising that anyone would even try to play violin music on a recorder. Colpron, however, makes a very good case for doing so, thanks to the excellence of his technique, and also his good taste, musically speaking. Under normal circumstances, I am not sure that I would want to hear an hour of this—reviewing a CD might fall under the category of “extenuating circumstances”!—but taken one fantasia or set of variations at a time, it is cheerful stuff, and I have nothing but admiration for Colpron. One wonders what Arnold Dolmetsch (1858–1940), the father of modern-day recorder playing, would think. I doubt that even he would have predicted the appearance of musicians the likes of Colpron, and an appetite for recorder music such as we have today.

I should also note that, for practical reasons, Colpron does not play all of these works in their original keys, but that shouldn’t trouble anyone too much. Also, in the sets of variations by Marais and Tartini, he omits some of the variations—I assume because they simply don’t work on the recorder.

While not highly significant—except for other recorder players, perhaps—this is a bright and engaging program. There’s something about a recorder that simply makes me feel better.

FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
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Works on This Recording

Caprices (24) for Violin solo, Op. 1: no 24 in A minor by Niccolò Paganini
Performer:  Francis Colpron (Recorder)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1805; Italy 
Fantasias (12) for Violin solo: no 8 in E major, TV 40 no 21/P 35 no 8 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Francis Colpron (Recorder)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1735; Hamburg, Germany 
Pièces de viole, Book 2: Suite no 1 in A minor - Les folies d'Espagne by Marin Marais
Performer:  Francis Colpron (Recorder)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1701; Paris, France 
Partita for Flute solo in A minor, BWV 1013 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Francis Colpron (Recorder)
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1720s; ?Cöthen, Germany 
Variations (38) on a Gavotte from Corelli's Op. 5, B F11 "L'arte del arco": no 10 by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Francis Colpron (Recorder)
Period: Baroque  
Written: Italy 
Fantasias (12) for Violin solo: no 4 in D major, TV 40 no 17/P 35 no 4 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Francis Colpron (Recorder)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1735; Hamburg, Germany 

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