Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
Unbounded enthusiasm and joy in music-making lie at the heart of this disc.
All Baroque music sounds more or less the same, and this is particularly true of Telemann: that is, until you actually listen to it. The works on this disc, all nominally featuring flute/recorder with other winds, are in fact astonishingly varied in timbre and expressive content. The Overture in E minor features the full compliment of players: two flutes, two oboes, bassoon, two violins, and strings, while the four ensuing concertos feature various combinations of this larger grouping. In short, this is a brilliant bit of programming, an ideal
case of creating a full disc's worth of entertainment that's stylistically cohesive and yet sufficiently varied to sustain its generous, 77-minute length.
The concertos themselves all have four movements but offer a wide variety of movement types within this basic framework. That in D major (two flutes, violin, and cello) starts with a quick Vivace followed by a gentle Siciliana. The F major, for recorder and bassoon, has a Largo opening and an extremely imposing Grave third movement. Italian influences are often quite evident, especially in this latter work as well as in the B-flat major concerto (two flutes, oboe, and violin), the lightest of the four. The alternation of quick and slow tempos in the opening movement of the G major concerto for two flutes and bassoon neatly sums up the range (in tempo at least) of the entire program in a single tidy package.
Alexis Kossenko plays his various flutes nimbly; his slightly hollow tone comes with the period-instrument territory but never turns unacceptably "breathy", while his virtuosity and taste are never in doubt. Jane Gower's baroque bassoon sounds frankly strange, sort of a cross between a saxophone and a goose. All of the other soloists are excellent, the members of Holland Baroque Society taking obvious pleasure in this intelligently chosen and exceptionally well-recorded recital. You may find yourself, as I did, returning to it often, and in particular marveling at Telemann's unflagging inventiveness.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
The unbounded enthusiasm on the face of the cellist on the front cover of this CD gives an idea of the joy in music-making that lies at the heart of this disc.
The youthful Holland Baroque Society continues its self-imposed policy of not having a conductor for performances, but instead inviting an ‘artistic leader’ to guide it through various projects. In this case, flute and recorder player Alexis Kossenko directs the group through five of Telemann’s concertos, composed around 1712 for the landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt.
Unsurprisingly, each work has a prominent part for transverse flute - or, as in the case of the F major concerto, recorder - allowing Kossenko to dazzle the listener with his faultless technique. Being a composer at the head of the latest trends in concerto grosso writing, Telemann makes the flautist share the limelight with some equally complex and affecting music for other soloists and combinations of instruments.
True to form, Telemann delivers a surprise with the opening work on the CD, his Overture in E minor, which is essentially a five-movement concerto grosso for pairs of flutes, oboes and violins, plus bassoon. It is almost a carbon copy of Rameau, with its French-style first movement and subsequent dance sections – including a Lullian minuet (track 3). There is even a very Rameau-esque movement entitled ‘Les Cyclopes’ (track 2), which splendidly evokes the plodding anger of the one-eyed giants.
The ensuing concerto in D for two flutes, violin and cello is more of an Italianate affair with a German twist – an instrumental showcase tempered by rhythmic formality. The concerto in F for recorder and bassoon, meanwhile, is a quieter, more contemplative affair. The asymmetric tonalities of the two solo instruments give a depth to the music which is most pronounced in the Grave movement (track 12), where both soloists shelter beneath an onslaught of slashing string chords.
The final works on the disc – concertos in B flat and G for two flutes, oboe and violin, and for two flutes and bassoon respectively – are plainer affairs, based on the classic concerto grosso model. But even here, Telemann cannot resist showing off his cosmopolitan experience and sense of fun, with a stomping polonaise in the finale to the G major work.
-- John-Pierre Joyce, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Concerto for 2 Horns in F major, TV 52 no F 4 by Georg Philipp Telemann
Alexis Kossenko (Flute)
Holland Baroque Society
Written: circa 1726-1730; Germany
Featured Sound Samples
Overture-Suite for 2 Flutes, Violin & Cello in D, TV 53 no D 6: III. Allegro
Concerto for 2 Flutes, Oboe & Violin in B flat, TV 53 no B 2: II. Allegro
Overture-Suite for Orchestra in E minor, TV 55 no e 3: I. --
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