Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is an unadulterated delight. I’ve greatly admired Musica Alta Ripa’s one to a part strings in their discs devoted to Bach concertos, but their Telemann-playing here is if anything even better. From the outset of the superb D-Minor Concerto for two violins and viola, a Largo in which the ear is caressed by the lovingly nuanced undulating lines drawn by Anne Röhrig’s and Ursula Bundies’s violins and Cosima Taubert’s viola, this is a disc for which only superlatives will do to describe the playing of all concerned. In the same work one notes the verve, rhythmic spring, and edge-of-the-seat fiddling in the Allegro (ii), the lovely cantabile-playing in the Andante, with its beguilingly dreamy conclusion (and the tasteful theorbo
continuo-playing at this point is an object lesson from which many could learn), and the hectic antiphonal interplay of the final Allegro.
The Concerto in F for recorder and bassoon, the best known of these works, brings a new sound world and fresh enchantments in the perfect partnership of Danya Segal, a recorder-player with an unusually mellow tone, and the experienced Michael McGraw, the two playing unison passages as if breathing as one. Here, the heart-easing lyricism of the opening Largo and gentle meanderings of the minor mode Grave (iii) are tellingly counterpointed by the bustling activity of the two allegros, the first distinguished by brilliant passage work, the second by the delicious imitation between the two players. Equally impressive is Juris Teichmanis’s playing of the demanding Cello Sonata in D, which calls for a player able to sing and shape the Largo (iii) as exquisitely as is the case here, and also encompass the technical demands of the allegros, a gigue with wide intervals and much busy passage work, a finale with writing high in the instrument’s register.
The seven-movement B-Minor Overture is unusually scored for solo violin and strings, but there is little recourse to concerto-writing, the solo instrument being largely restricted to a role that is often integrated with its fellows. Among the highlights are a delightfully springy Gavotte (ii), an elegant Loure (iii) and the boisterous final Rodomontade, in which the soloist is finally given a chance to shine, a moment seized with relish by Röhrig, who produces some dazzling playing. I’ve left until last the revelation of the disc, the Sonata in F Minor for two violins, two violas, and continuo, a miniature (it lasts a mere seven minutes) masterpiece in four-movements that shows Telemann paying homage to the sonata da chiesa in general, and Corelli in particular. The instrumentation gives this atypically serious work rich sonority, deeply felt in the opening Adagio, and impressively solid in the following fugal Allegro. The following Largo is replete with Corellian suspensions, but harmonies Corelli never dreamed of, while the final Presto brings this remarkable work to a close with terse, nervous intensity.
This is volume 2 of a series that obviously demands to be in the collection of every Telemann enthusiast. Its predecessor (MDG 309 1189-2) was hailed in Fanfare 27:4 by my colleague Michael Carter in terms that match my own unbounded praise. Those who missed out on the earlier issue now have two discs they simply have to lay their hands on.
Brian Robins, FANFARE
Volume 2 in Musica Alta Ripa and MDG's series of Telemann concertos and chamber music continues the high-caliber presentation, exciting, spirited playing, and crisp, vibrant sound that characterized the earlier volume (type Q7828 in Search Reviews). This time we hear a colorful concerto for the interesting combination of recorder and bassoon that shows some very impressive virtuoso playing from both soloists, a more conventional yet very serviceable cello concerto that's full of nice tunes, and three other pieces for strings and continuo. The most engaging of these has to be the Overture in B minor, with its lively violin solos and the wild concluding movement, titled "Rodomontade" (braggadocio). Again, we appreciate Telemann's lovely slow movements and his unfailingly catchy, foot-tapping fast music, all of which is played here with expert ensemble and ideal pacing--it's especially welcome to hear a menuet that really dances instead of drags. My only complaint is the close-up sound that occasionally takes on some harshness--particularly in the cello concerto--and that tends to overemphasize the bass. Nevertheless, this is wonderful music that should be heard by everyone who loves Baroque instrumental chamber works, and by anyone curious to become acquainted with this extraordinary yet often overlooked composer.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Quatrieme livre de quatuors: no 6 in D minor, TV 43 no d 2 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Musica Alta Ripa
Length: 9 Minutes 38 Secs.
Notes: Schloss Nordkirchen, Oranienburg (03/02/2003); Schloss Nordkirchen, Oranienburg (10/23/2004 - 10/24/2004)
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