Notes and Editorial Reviews
Flute Concertos: in b,
Concerto in D for 2 flutes and bassoon,
Concerto in B for 2 recorders,
Oboe Concerto in a,
Concerto in C for 2 oboes and bassoon,
Concerto in F for 2 horns,
Michael Schneider, cond (fl, rcr); Karl Kaiser (fl, pic); Martin Stadler, Luisa Baumgartl (ob); Marita Schaar (bn); Martin Hublow (rcr); Ulrich Hübner, Jörg Schulteß (hn); La Stagione Frankfurt; Camerata Köln (period instruments)
CPO 777 402 (64:02)
Here finally is the sixth installment of the complete concertos for wind instruments by that prolific jack of all trades, Georg Philipp Telemann, undertaken as a Herculean task by Michael Schneider and cpo. Most of these were recorded two years ago (although the concerto for two recorders dates from 2007), and thus probably had to wait for people to digest the first several volumes. Telemann was certainly a versatile composer who himself was capable of performing on almost any instrument, and so it seems natural that he would devote considerable time and energy toward various combinations. The wind concertos, most of which seem to date from his years in Darmstadt, reflect this focus, and what is more, the variety indicates that he had a good time with them. Unlike Vivaldi, whose style seems immediately identifiable in his equally diverse collection of concertos for various wind instruments, Telemann explored a wide range of possibilities, many of which are evident in this volume (and throughout the others).
Only one of the concertos is in three movements; the composer seems to prefer the four-movement format, probably because it offers better opportunity for contrast (and was more common during this time, especially in Germany). His diversity can be seen in the opening of the Oboe Concerto in A Minor, where the steady ostinato chords of the strings allow the solo instrument to sneak in with a lyrical line, almost like a cantus firmus that offsets the dissonant suspensions. The Flute Concerto in D Major opens with a cheerful
, with its distinctive rhythms, ending with a festive romp for the finale. Here it seems to be performed on a sopranino recorder, though it is listed as a piccolo. The “French” concerto for two oboes has a series of four very polite and measured dances, although the second movement here sounds awfully like an English hornpipe, almost as if something crept in across the channel. The concerto for two recorders, on the other hand, blends the solo instruments much like the opening of a pastoral cantata; one doesn’t have to make too large a leap of logic to connect this work with the more famous Bach cantatas with flutes or recorders. A final concerto is one of the several written for two horns, this time in F Major. The fast movements are replete with echo effects and hunting calls, even though the virtuosity of the instruments is apparent elsewhere in the more ornate passages. The third-movement Siciliano allows these instruments to soar gracefully with their characteristic dotted compound rhythms.
The performances by all of the soloists are outstanding. Karl Kaiser performs his excruciatingly difficult passages cleanly and with a nice tone, complemented by Michael Schneider as his second in the duo concerto. The oboe playing of Martin Stadler is equally clear and unambiguous, and he too has an equal partner in Luisa Baumgartl. The horn playing of both Ulrich Hübner and Jörg Schulteß is appropriately raucous and yet both handle the ornate parts with ease. Both period-instrument orchestras are up to their usual standards, with good interaction with the soloists, never obscuring and always giving them a solid foundation. This really should be a part of any collection and I, for one, cannot wait for Volume 7 to appear.
FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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