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O Woe! O Woe! My Canary Is Dead! - Secular Cantatas & Overtures By Georg Philipp Telemann

Telemann / Mields / Bach Concentus / Demeyere
Release Date: 02/23/2010 
Label:  Accent   Catalog #: 24199   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Ewald DemeyereDorothee Mields
Conductor:  Ewald Demeyere
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Concentus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



TELEMANN Overture, “La Boufforme.” Cantata, Der Weiber-Orden. Overture in C. Cantate oder Trauer-Music eines kunsterfahrenen Canarien-Vogels. Ouverture burlesque Ewald Demeyere, cond; Dorothee Mields (sop); Bach Concentus ACCENT 24199 (79:10)


The musical world’s greatest workaholic, Telemann, wrote more than 1,000 cantatas and 600 overture-suites. Most of these have vanished with the years, though more than enough Read more survives to justify a lengthy “complete” series. While I’ve yet to see this happen with the cantatas, such an enterprise has been undertaken on behalf of the overture-suites by Patrick Peire and the Collegium Instrumentale Brugensis. I agree wholeheartedly with my colleague Michael Carter in his review of the first volume ( Fanfare 30:4): “The band uses modern instruments, but employs period techniques and does so with astounding success. … Some of these suites, i.e., the ones with the subtitles, are available in other higher priced recordings on major labels … but why buy three or four CDs at full price when you can snag this trio of superbly played and equally well-recorded discs for a song?” Fortunately, as it happens, none of the overture-suites on this album have appeared in the Collegium’s three currently issued volumes; while I don’t doubt that at some point they will, with roughly 140 surviving manuscripts, that could be a very distant point, indeed.


Mind, there is some duplication on records between the contents of this release and other groups, much as you’d expect with the “named” works (though they weren’t in fact named by Telemann) we have here. “La Boufforme” has been recorded by Simon Standage leading the Collegium Musicum 90 (Chandos 0547), but I find it an excessively polite and bland reading next to that of the Bach Concentus. Much the same holds true for Standage and his ensemble in the Overture burlesque (Chandos 0512), where speed and smooth textures substitute for the Bach Concentus’s clarity, emphasis, and brighter textures.


The Cantata or Requiem for a Canary Experienced in Art has also been recorded, in this case by the Berlin Chamber Orchestra with bass Reiner Süss (Berlin Classics 9135). It supplies strong competition to the album under review, first because there’s something inherently comic in the idea of a man’s heart breaking over a dead pet canary, as opposed to a little girl’s—for which an adult soprano is accepted by symbolic convention. Süss is also a fine basso buffo , though he exaggerates anachronistically in 19th-century style by departing from the vocal line repeatedly to seem more distraught. Dorothee Mields, by contrast, does hardly anything dramatic in anything she sings. Deadening her vibrato for a bit and employing two volume levels are all the interpretative features she deploys on this album. Her lyric soprano makes a pleasant sound, but she misses nearly every opportunity for characterization in this work, or in the satirical The Order of Women . The latter practically begs for a broad expressive range: awed delight in “Du angenehmer Weiberorden,” sugary sweetness in “Schlaf, mein leibes Söhnelein,” the stern rebuke of “Ihr Jungfern! Folget mir” addressed to spinsters, etc.


Yet the Bach Concentus plays with more verve and stylishness than the Bach Chamber Orchestra. Phrasing in particular is more imaginative and subtly varied, with continuo enriched by the addition of a cello instead of simply a harpsichord. Tempos are suitably diverse, but the opening slow passages of the initial movements in these suites are never rushed; while even fast movements, such as “Les Trompettes” from the Overture in C Major, are performed by Demeyere and his musicians at a reasonable allegro that allows their counterpoint to sound properly.


It remains to note that while the orchestral portion of this album is well recorded, Mields is put in a cavernous church-style audio environment that does nothing for her intrinsically lovely tone, while blurring her enunciation of the text. That aside, this is a generously timed disc of engaging period-instrument performances in Telemann. I’d give the palm to the Berlin Chamber Orchestra in the cantatas, but prefer these renditions of the overture-suites to the Collegium Musicum 90. Recommended.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
Suite for Orchestra, TV 55 no C 5 "La Boufonne" by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Ewald Demeyere (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Ewald Demeyere
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Concentus
Period: Baroque 
Length: 20 Minutes 29 Secs. 
2.
Du angenehmer Weiberorden, TV 20 no 49 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Ewald Demeyere (Harpsichord), Dorothee Mields ()
Conductor:  Ewald Demeyere
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Concentus
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
3.
Overture-Suite for Oboe, Strings and Basso continuo in C major, TV 55 no C 2 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Ewald Demeyere (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Ewald Demeyere
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Concentus
Length: 3 Minutes 28 Secs. 
4.
Trauermusik eines kunsterfahrenen Kanarienvogels by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Ewald Demeyere (Harpsichord), Dorothee Mields ()
Conductor:  Ewald Demeyere
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Concentus
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
5.
Overture-Suite for Strings and Basso continuo in B flat major, TV 55 no B 8 "Burlesque" by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Ewald Demeyere (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Ewald Demeyere
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Concentus
Period: Baroque 
Length: 13 Minutes 7 Secs. 

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