Notes and Editorial Reviews
Six Orchestral Suites
Pratum Integrum O
CARO MITIS 22010 (2 SACDs: 142:16)
Here are crisp, energetic, stylish renditions of Telemann’s orchestral suites by what appears from their photo to be an orchestra of mostly young players (14 men and seven women) that sounds much bigger than it is. The miking probably has a lot to do with this, but so does the playing. This music, written for the virtuoso musicians of the Dresden Hofkapelle (where many of the players were famed soloists who came together to
form the ensemble), is of exactly the right proportion. Each movement of each suite is both engaging and inventive, and none of the music overstays its welcome. The liner notes name some of the original virtuosos: oboists François le Riche and Johann Christian Richter, concertmasters Jean-Baptiste Volumier and Johann Georg Pisendel, double bassist Jan Dismas Zelenka, and flautists Pierre-Gabriel Buffardin and Johann Joachim Quantz. (Apparently they even had a “virtuoso of the cymbal,” Eisenach Pantaleon Hebenstreit!) The mixture of German, French, and Dutch names indicates that the best musicians gravitated to Dresden from several countries. Apparently it was one heck of an orchestra.
So too is Pratum Integrum, and I was overjoyed to not only find names but photos of most of the musicians involved here—and even more surprising, the names of soloists within each suite. Too often nowadays there seems to be a form of false modesty in CD issues; sometimes you don’t get the names of all the musicians in the orchestra and, when you do, those who take solos are often a matter of mystery to the consumer. Here one can give individual praise to violinists Sergey and Pavel Filchenko in the first G-Minor Suite (TWV 55:g8), oboists Philippe Nodel and Svetlana Usacheva and bassoonist Mikhail Shilenkov in the B?-Suite (TWV 55:B11), violinist Dmitry Lepekhov in the A-Major Suite, flautist Olga Ivusheykova in the E Minor, violinist Marina Katazhnova in the second G Minor, and Renée Allen and Fyodor Yarovoy on natural horns in the F Major. I’m also happy to see the solo work shared by different members of the group, rather than being always handed to the same players. I should also point out that they used original scores from the Saxon State and University Library of Dresden, and that these scores yielded the last two suites in G Minor (TWV 55:g7) and F (TWV 55:F12), of which these are the world premiere recordings. The last concerto, featuring two natural horns, is particularly fascinating as well as brilliantly played. The notes also indicate that the overture of the A-Major Suite (TWV 55:A7) is a “remarkable discovery” that only became available recently because “water damage to the autograph score had to be restored.”
One cannot praise the wonderful camaraderie one hears from this orchestra highly enough. Each member is obviously a virtuoso, yet each emerges from the ensemble for his/her solo turns and then blends right back in. To a certain extent, it put me in mind of the wonderful ensemble of virtuosos that Gustav Leonhardt assembled to record the Bach
in the early 1970s. This group almost
together: Listen to their subtlety and intelligence in the use of nuances. Every note of each suite sounds as if it had been studiously assessed as to the exact weight and pressure to exert within each phrase, but the end result is playing that has a spontaneous
that is anything but studied. Listen, particularly, to the light passages within the
s, where only two or three instruments are playing, and the way Pratum Integrum almost makes the music float. This is, quite simply, extraordinary early-music playing. The orchestra raises these suites up to the level of Handel’s and Rameau’s best orchestral music. Very highly recommended.
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title