Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is the fourth in what is well established as a consistently rewarding series; reviews of earlier releases can be found in Fanfare 27:4, 28:3, and 29:1, respectively. The present issue follows the now established formula of including examples of each of the three genres to which the series is devoted, single strings to a part being employed throughout the “orchestral” works.
As one might expect, the most extended work is the Ouverture (or suite) in E, scored for oboe d’amore, and strings. The wind instrument in this case is used almost entirely for the color it provides doubling the first violin part, the only exception being a brief solo appearance in the second minuet of the finale. The suite opens with the customary
French overture, a fine example with an especially winning allegro section founded on fanfare motifs and echo effects. There follows the expected succession of dances and genre pieces, which include an Air (here shaped with real affection) that takes an unexpected, if brief, turn to the minor, and a robust Rondeau hanaquoise in Telemann’s favorite Polish style.
The French influence that, of course, dominates the Ouverture is also less expectedly evident in the B? Concerto for two recorders and strings, where Telemann gives Italian headings for the first two movements, a pastoral Grave, and an exuberant Vivace, while marking the last two Tendrement, and Gayment, a gesture typical of a composer equally at home in either style. No such crossing of national borders occurs in TWV 43:G5, a ripieno concerto for strings that opens with an Adagio of great breadth if not length in which due tribute is paid to Corelli. This splendid work continues with a dynamic, thrusting Presto in which imitative exchanges between the two violinists sit alongside furious scalar passagework, a gentle, undulating Largo, and a bright-eyed final Allegro. The Violin Sonata in D is an early work that comes from Telemann’s first publication, a set of six sonatas that appeared in 1715. It’s cast in the form of a partita, with four dance movements, the first of which is a rather serious Allemanda (Largo). Without ever stretching the violinist too far, three of the four movements require considerable agility, brief repose coming from a wistfully expressive Sarabande (iii).
The finest work on the disc is the A-Minor Concerto, which is in fact more a quadro than a concerto. Its scoring is for equally voiced recorder, oboe, and violin, with continuo. The principal delight of the work is the manner in which Telemann masterfully intertwines the material for the three melody instruments, to utterly beguiling effect in the opening Adagio, and with consummate contrapuntal skill in the following quasi-fugal Allegro. The succeeding Adagio is a tranquil dialogue, and only in the final Vivace does Telemann revert to true concerto form, the bubbling ritornello theme being interrupted to allow each instrument in turn to break out with a solo “riff.” So far as I can determine, this is the only one of these works to have received previous recordings.
There’s little to add to what I’ve said previously about Musica Alta Ripa’s Telemann performances, which from first to last combine irresistible effervescence with style, elegance, and sensitivity. Perhaps duty demands that the odd rough moment in violinist Anne Röhrig’s playing of the A-Minor Concerto be noted, but that’s a trivial detail within the context of so much that overflows with such spirit and verve. Volume 5, please, MDG!
FANFARE: Brian Robins
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