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Bernardini: Telemann: Ouvertures A 8 / Zefiro

Telemann / Zefiro Baroque Orchestra / Bernardini
Release Date: 11/19/2013 
Label:  Arcana   Catalog #: 371   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann
Conductor:  Alfredo Bernardini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zefiro Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

TELEMANN Overtures: in D, TWV 55:D15; in d, TWV 55:d3; in B?, TWV 55:B10 Alfredo Bernardini, cond; Zefiro (period instruments) ARCANA 371 (73:30)


The three “overtures” we have here are not, as might be surmised from the album’s title ( Ouvertures à 8)

Read more overtures to Telemann’s operas. They belong to the same genre of work as Bach’s orchestral suites, which are also called overtures; and other than the fact that Telemann seems to have populated his suites with more movements than Bach did in his well-known four examples, there aren’t many differences between them in terms of style and organization. The model for both composers was undoubtedly the French keyboard suite of François Couperin, now reinvented for an orchestral setting.


Each suite begins with an overture, which starts off with a slow ceremonial show of pomp, and then proceeds on to a fugal allegro . Following is a sequence of shorter dance movements, most headed by their French titles—Courante, Rondeau, Loure, Gigue, and so on. Where Telemann gets a bit more fanciful than Bach is with added pièces characteristique -type movements, such as “Harliquinade,” “Combattans,” and “Canaries.” Since the Bach suites are so popular and you’re bound to know them well, there’s no danger of you mistaking Telemann’s music for that of Bach, but if you didn’t know the Bach suites, there are passages in these Telemann scores that could easily fool you.


Recent period instrument performances seem to have entered a third, restorative phase, one in which there is a return to accepted norms established by 50 or more years of scholarly research into historical practices; and frankly, I have to say it’s a relief. I am personally pleased to see the eccentricities of those experimental Baroque music ensembles finally discredited. You know the ones I mean—those that got it into their heads that authentic period practice called for allegro s to be played faster than the ear could hear, and for all manner of bizarre effects, such as playing tremolos sul ponticello and chords col legno . It was as if Vivaldi went to bed with indigestion and encountered Berlioz in a bad dream, commanding him to lead his all-girl band in a witches’ Sabbath.


Zefiro is a period instrument ensemble that adopts entirely sensible tempos, engages in no extra-musical special effects, and has mastered its instruments to the point where things like intonation, tone production, and polished execution are equal in every respect to its modern instrument counterparts.


The three overtures à 8 on the disc are played as Telemann wrote them. The eight-voice scoring is for two oboes, bassoon, two violins, viola, cello, and double bass. Harpsichord and theorbo provide the continuo support. Given an ensemble of 10 instruments in total, even though there’s only one player to each part, Zefiro’s presence lacks nothing in fullness or depth of sound. These are wonderfully solid and musically enriching performances, complemented by a perfectly spotlighted and well-balanced recording.


Telemann’s overtures (suites) are not going to supplant Bach’s, but, in addition to providing over an hour’s worth of enjoyable music, they offer a peek into another room of this amazingly fecund composer’s workshop. According to the Telemann TWV work catalog, there are—hold onto your hats—138 such works designated overture-suite listed under the TWV 55 category! How far Zefiro intends to travel down this road remains to be seen, but with this first step of the journey, Alfredo Bernardini and his ensemble make a good start. Recommended. FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1.
Overture-Suite for 3 Oboes, Strings and Basso continuo in D major, TV 55 no D 15 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Conductor:  Alfredo Bernardini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zefiro Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1768 
Venue:  Teatro Scientifico Bibiena, Mantova, Ita 
Length: 19 Minutes 6 Secs. 
2.
Overture-Suite for 3 Oboes & Bassoon in D minor, TV 55 no d 3 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Conductor:  Alfredo Bernardini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zefiro Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Germany 
Venue:  Teatro Scientifico Bibiena, Mantova, Ita 
Length: 24 Minutes 48 Secs. 
3.
Suite for 3 Oboes, Bassoon and Strings in B major, TV 55 no B 10 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Conductor:  Alfredo Bernardini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zefiro Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Venue:  Teatro Scientifico Bibiena, Mantova, Ita 
Length: 23 Minutes 29 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Overture (Suite) in D Major, TWV 55:D15: I. Ouverture: Grave. Allegro. Grave
Overture (Suite) in D Major, TWV 55:D15: II. Prelude
Overture (Suite) in D Major, TWV 55:D15: III. Gigue
Overture (Suite) in D Major, TWV 55:D15: IV. Menuet I-II
Overture (Suite) in D Major, TWV 55:D15: V. Harlequinade
Overture (Suite) in D Major, TWV 55:D15: VI. Loure
Overture (Suite) in D Major, TWV 55:D15: VII. Rondeau
Overture (Suite) in D Major, TWV 55:D15: VIII. Rejouissance
Overture (Suite) in D Minor, TWV 55:d3: I. Ouverture
Overture (Suite) in D Minor, TWV 55:d3: II. Menuet I-II
Overture (Suite) in D Minor, TWV 55:d3: III. Gavotte
Overture (Suite) in D Minor, TWV 55:d3: IV. Courante
Overture (Suite) in D Minor, TWV 55:d3: V. Air
Overture (Suite) in D Minor, TWV 55:d3: VI. Loure
Overture (Suite) in D Minor, TWV 55:d3: VII. Hornpipe
Overture (Suite) in D Minor, TWV 55:d3: VIII. Canaries
Overture (Suite) in D Minor, TWV 55:d3: IX. Gigue
Overture (Suite) in B-Flat Major, TWV 55:B10: I. Ouverture
Overture (Suite) in B-Flat Major, TWV 55:B10: II. Rondeau
Overture (Suite) in B-Flat Major, TWV 55:B10: III. Air: Un peu viste
Overture (Suite) in B-Flat Major, TWV 55:B10: IV. Hornpipe
Overture (Suite) in B-Flat Major, TWV 55:B10: V. Menuet I-II
Overture (Suite) in B-Flat Major, TWV 55:B10: VI. Bourree
Overture (Suite) in B-Flat Major, TWV 55:B10: VII. Plainte
Overture (Suite) in B-Flat Major, TWV 55:B10: VIII. Combattans
Overture (Suite) in B-Flat Major, TWV 55:B10: IX. Passepied I-II

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