Notes and Editorial Reviews
Concerto for two flutes and bassoon in a,
Concerto for trumpet and two oboes in D,
Oboe Concerto in D,
. Oboe d’amore Concerto in G,
Concerto for two chalumeaux and 2 bassoons in C,
Concerto for two horns in F,
class="ARIAL12"> Michael Schneider (fl, cond); Karl Kaiser (fl); Hans-Peter Westermann (ob); Martin Stadler (ob); Luisa Baumgartl (oba); Lorenzo Coppola (chalumeau); Tindaro Capuano (chalumeau); Marita Schaar (bn); Martin Hublow (rcr); Hannes Rux (tpt); Ulrich Hübner (hn); Jörg Schulteß (hn); La Stagione Frankfurt, Camerata Köln (period instruments)
CPO 999 951 (69:38)
Well, since my earlier review of Volume 6 of the complete Telemann wind concertos series, in which I said that I could hardly wait for the next installment to appear, Volume 7 has come and gone, and now here we are on Volume 8 already. OK, I have acquired a copy of the aforementioned volume privately, and so my anticipation was fulfilled, which places this next in the sequence in its correct place. Once again, it proves the incredible fecundity of Telemann’s creativity when it comes to the concerto.
The six works on this disc are, as in the rest of the series, extremely diverse. Unlike his contemporary Vivaldi, Telemann does not use overarching stylistic trademarks with his concertos that define authorship in a particular way. Rather, he carefully writes music that is uniquely suited to the tonal qualities of his soloists, and sometimes the usual generic descriptions hardly apply. Such is the case with the Concerto for trumpet, two oboes, and continuo, which is a virtual trio sonata, to which a solo clarino trumpet has been appended. Here, the composer uses the oboes as replacements for the usual string orchestra, but the trumpet enters as a
primus inter pares
rather than the dominant solo. The D-Minor Siciliano second slow movement is thinner in texture and far more mysterious in a mincing sort of manner with the two oboes in trio sonata configuration, but when the following
ensues, the trumpet ranges from florid lines to military signal fanfares, and one forgets that the ripieno is nowhere in evidence. The remainder are more conventionally set, although the D-Major Oboe concerto does omit the viola in the string ripieno, most likely to allow for a more treble-oriented, transparent texture with the soloist.
It is difficult to say when any of the concertos were written, although the sources for five of them point to Telemann’s stay in Frankfurt around 1712-1721, when he was busily writing instrumental works for the Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt in the French manner. This is vouchsafed by a comment in his 1718 autobiography where he notes that his compositions “reek of France,” as well as some of the uses of French rhythms such as the Louré of the Concerto for two flutes. The remaining work, the aforementioned trumpet and two oboe Concerto, may be a work written for Hamburg, given some of the interesting stylistic elements that seem to point to a period (1721-1740), when Telemann was focused upon chamber genres. In any case, all reflect a careful ingenuity with regards to structure and setting, although all follow the traditional four-movement pattern favored in Baroque Germany. Given the eclectic nature of these works, highlights abound. Some of my favorites are the scurrying main theme of first
of the Concerto for two chalumeaux, with muted unison strings in their lower registers complementing the main soloists, but also with rapid-fire bassoon lines that form a nice timbre. The following
has the soloists emerge with a spare duet that begins to flow only when the remainder of the orchestra comes in. The finale of the double horn Concerto also stands out as a rollicking alla polacca, or perhaps Silesian dance, with horn calls and a really neat high pairing of one solo playing duple time against the other doing triplets, the result of which is a warbling of the sort that one might image to be found in a Bohemian forest of the time. Finally, there is the gentle soave of the oboe d’amore Concerto, with its meandering line outlining a sort of minuet. The second movement is a fast pastorale, and when at the end of the first section the soloist meanders off, it is as if one is transported to the bucolic fields redolent with wandering sheep.
The performance is every bit as excellent as noted in my review of the previous volume. It is clear to me, at least, that Michael Schneider must be seen as one of the day’s best interpreters of Telemann. The tempos are all just right, and there are no distractions in the precision of La Stagione’s crack group of performers. They complement and support the various soloists, some of whom are drawn from their ranks, with perfection. This is a disc that one really ought to have, for not only are the performances first-rank, they demonstrate the indefatigable talent of Telemann as a composer.
FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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