Notes and Editorial Reviews
Partita in c,
Erik Bosgraaf (rcr)
BRILLIANT 93757 (69: 36)
I suppose that there are those who find the idea of over an hour of unaccompanied recorder music about as exciting as a cup of raw white rice. Too many of us, after all, have suffered through our own efforts to play the recorder, or perhaps the efforts of more or less diligent
offspring. We shouldn’t blame the innocent recorder, though, for its reputation. It’s more than just the kazoo’s elder brother.
The Pirates of Penzance
, William S. Gilbert has the Major-General “hum a fugue of which [he’s] heard the music’s din afore.” One well might wonder how a single person, unless he’s Tuvan, can hum a fugue. The recorder can play a fugue no more than the Major-General can hum one, but it can fool the ear into thinking it can play harmonies, especially if it is played in a suitably reverberant location. Such is the case here. It might seem perverse to mention a recording venue before mentioning anything else about a recording. Nevertheless, the Dutch church where this CD was recorded in April 2008 does its share to increase the appeal of the music and of Erik Bosgraaf’s playing. The notes hang in the air and combine with each other, and the result is warm and comforting, not at all confusing to the ears or the brain.
It once was suggested that these 12 fantasias were intended for the solo violin, but as no multiple stopping is indicated, they almost certainly were written with the transverse flute in mind. To play them on a recorder—in this case, one of Bosgraaf’s three different instruments (alto recorder, soprano recorder, or voice flute)—transpositions have been made in all but the third, sixth, and 12th fantasias. On Sabina Frey’s recording of these works (Novalis 150 186), only alto recorders are used, although one can’t accuse her performances of monotony. Bosgraaf’s performances are jauntier than Frey’s, though, in part because his tempos are, almost without exception, significantly faster. His approach is less formal, and unmistakably inspired by the spirit of the dance, so perhaps one could call this “rustic” Telemann.
Partly because of his faster tempos, Bosgraaf can offer a significant bonus: Bach’s C-Minor Partita, which also was intended for the flute. (Here, it is played on a different alto recorder.) Bosgraaf adopts a more academic style for this work, although he is not dull.
The booklet contains a useful essay by Thiemo Wind, in which Telemann’s use of dance forms and “pseudo-polyphony” is discussed.
Bosgraaf still is in his twenties, and approaches this music with scholarship, imagination, and technical skill. He can be enthusiastically recommended to anyone who wants his or her Telemann (and Bach) to be less contemplative, and a little more spontaneous.
FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
Works on This Recording
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