Notes and Editorial Reviews
Virtuosic statements and sustained cantabile writing fare equally well in Dubeau's hands but, above all, perhaps, she seems to have embraced the spirit and idiom of the period and its style.
In much the same way as Bach, during the 1720s, seems to have felt a need to embark upon the assembly and publication of pieces which he esteemed highly, Telemann followed suit in the 1730s. Above all, there was his Musique de Table which, like Bach's Clavier-Ubung, was printed at the composer's own expense; but there was much else besides, including Six Nouveaux qua/tears, to which Bach subscribed, the impressive Essercizii musici, and two sets of unaccompanied Fantaisies, 12 of them for flute, and 12 more for violin.
The Fantaisies for unaccompanied violin were published in 1735 and reveal a knowledge of the possibilities inherent in solo violin writing which Telemann demonstrates only intermittently in his concertos for the instrument. Like the Fantaisies for unaccompanied ilute, those for violin present the composer in an uncharacteristically serious light. Angêle Dubeau is a Canadian violinist with a fine technique and a firm, resonant tone. She plays an instrument tuned to today's concert pitch, though it is, in fact, a product of the Stradivarius workshop, dating from 1733. While never approaching the complexity of Bach's unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas — it is quite possible that Telemann would have been Familiar with these — the Fantaisies require advanced technique to show them off in their many and varied colours and humours. Multiple stopping is frequently called for and the implied harmonies make the title Fantaisie both apt and wholly justified. Dubeau has a sharp ear for detail both in respect of tuning and expressive nuance. Virtuosic statements and sustained cantabile writing fare equally well in her hands but, above all, perhaps, she seems to have embraced the spirit and idiom of the period and its style. She discovers the lyricism of slow movements without gimmickry or undue artifice and, in faster ones, intervals — some of them widely placed — are bowed with assurance and tonal accuracy.
Readers who find Bach's unaccompanied violin legacy a little daunting might find these engaging, much more modestly conceived and proportioned pieces a useful path towards it. But, of course, Telemann's Fantaisies stand up uncommonly well in their own right, requiring neither apologist nor promotional sales talk. The excellent recorded sound brings out subtleties both in the playing and in the rich character of the instrument itself. A fine release.
-- Gramophone [11/1997]
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