Notes and Editorial Reviews
The first thing you're likely to notice on hearing the opening of Telemann's Overture in D major is the wonderful richness of the sound--the painter's palette of color and the way the composer uses his fairly standard instrumental forces to create such hearer-friendly music. Joyful to its core, this is music whose sole purpose must be to engage, entertain, and uplift the spirits of those it touches. It's not profound or even particularly "original" in the sense of bearing obvious personal creative marks of its composer, but it's certainly inventive and artful as music of this caliber and effect must be.
In spite of the huge shadow of Bach that today reaches every
corner of the German Baroque, in the first half of the 18th century Telemann (who was nearly an exact contemporary of Johann Sebastian) carved his own very successful niche and indeed wrote more than 200 orchestral suites that by their relative directness, simplicity, superb melodies, infectious rhythms, and clearly drawn, ear-pleasing textures attracted the attention and respect of musicians and audiences all over Germany. Because he offered public concerts and oversaw publication of his own music, and because he wrote not only for professionals but for amateur musicans as well, Telemann's popularity reached far beyond the courts and churches. On hearing these suites, so expertly and energetically played, it's easy to understand their immediate appeal--which works just as successfully today as it must have back then.
And just when you think you can't be charmed or impressed any more after the opening work, the overture of the F major suite takes over, with its brilliant horns and lively theme--and it just gets better from there, with no letup through the suite's concluding fanfare, again with horns blazing and a rhythm so assertive that you just can't help
feeling it. Telemann's individuality is evident in the more programmatic sections and "character" movements such as "réjouissance" (rejoicing) or "les irrésoluts" (the indecisive) or "les capricieuses" (the capricious). And where did this orchestra, Il Fondamento, come from? Performing on period instruments, this group of Flemish musicians, directed by oboist Paul Dombrecht, was formed in 1989, and it's obvious that these players have spent a considerable portion of the past 10 years honing their ensemble skills and refining their understanding of the 17th and 18th century repertoire in which they specialize. This is terrific playing by any standard--and the vibrant, right-in-the-room sound catches every crisp articulation and singular timbre. [2/19/2001]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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