Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is an attractive selection of pieces in which the treble recorder features prominently. But it is a little misleading to call the disc "Recorder Concertos" when over half the playing time is taken up with the performance of a suite and a sinfonia. The Suite in A minor for recorder and strings is, in fact, far and away the most impressive item here; indeed, it is to recorder players what Bach's Suite in B minor is to flautists. In other words, it is one of the greatest pieces in the instrument's repertory and one of Telemann's most consistently engaging works in suite form.
The soloist, Peter Holtslag, is an accomplished player with acute sensibilities where textures, articulation and phrasing are concerned. He
sets an ideal tempo for the initial movement, a beautifully constructed overture in the French manner, though momentarily in the fast section he seems to feel a brisker pulse than that of the band. Most performances on disc make extraordinarily heavy weather over this opening piece, weighing it down with a stentorian basso continuo and overponderous tempos. Not so here, where The Parley of Instruments under Roy Goodman's direction proceed in a lively, refreshing manner, light of tread and fleet of foot. The dances come over well, too, with well-judged tempos and an infectious kinetic energy.
The Concertos in F major and C major are slighter works than their companion in suite form. Two versions exist of the former, one in D major for transverse flute, but without the composer's name, the other included here specifically designated for treble recorder "dell Signor Telemann". Its two outer movements, the opening one an Affettuoso, the finale a pair of Menuets, are particularly attractive and are played with warmth, affection and graceful poise. The C major Concerto is harmonically more interesting than the other and is more diversely coloured with pizzicato passages and some amusing harmonic astringencies here and there. Occasional astringencies in the string ensemble, though not part of Telemann's design, hardly spoilt my enjoyment of this lightly articulated performance. The expressive Andante has a Venetian flavour, recalling one of Albinoni's concerto movements in its opening measures. The finale is a brisk Menuet with virtuoso writing for the solo recorder.
The remaining piece is some way off the beaten track. Telemann enthusiasts with elephantine memories will recall a recording of the Sinfonia in F by the German Bach Soloists under Helmut Winschermann's direction (Oryx, 7/71—nla). As Peter Holman reasonably surmises in his note, the piece, scored for an unusual combination of recorder, viola da gamba, cornett, three trombones, strings and continuo with organ, probably belonged to a cantata or other choral work. It is an attractive work, though hardly vintage Telemann and I welcome its reappearance in the catalogue in much more stylish clothes than the earlier version.
In short, an enjoyable disc though, as I say, with variable string tone. The recorded sound is ideal.
-- Gramophone [10/1991]
reviewing the original release of this title, Hyperion 66413
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Recorder in C major, TV 51 no C 1 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Peter Holtslag (Recorder)
Parley of Instruments
Written: circa 1725-1735; Hamburg, Germany
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