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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Suite in D major for trumpet and strings, TWV55:D7 [19:50]
Horn Concerto in D major, TWV51:D8 [8:21]
Sonata in D major for trumpet and strings, TWV44:D1 [9:01]
Double Horn Concerto in D major, TWV52:D1 [7:36]
Trumpet Concerto in D major, TWV51:D7 [7:00]
Sonata in D major, TWV44:D1 [first and third movements without trumpet] [6:22]
Jean-François Madeuf (natural trumpet and natural horn), Pierre-Yves Madeuf (natural horn - TWV51:D8 and TWV52:D1)
La Petite Bande/Sigiswald Kuijken
rec. 13-15 January 2016 at AMUZ, Antwerp, Belgium
ACCENT ACC24318 [58:20]

The works on this disc are performed in a one-to-a-part arrangement, effectively as chamber music, yet the CD notes offer no real justification for that, other than merely seeking to set them apart from previous recordings either on modern instruments, or realised by larger ensembles. The music remains charming, but it inevitably loses some grandeur or authority, which seems a shame, when there is a considerable number of other genuine chamber music by Telemann that could have been recorded. In the compositions with trumpet, particularly, Jean-François Madeuf inevitably sounds rather more prominent than the rest of the instrumental ensemble. There is also some lack of variety in featuring an entire programme of works in D major. That it does not pall is testament to Telemann’s invention in contriving different textures and styles amongst the various movements, and different keys for the slow movements. But it is a pity that diversity could not have been provided by including the well-known double horn concerto in E flat major, for there is room on this disc.

Matters of presentation aside, the performances by Sigiswald Kuijken and La Petite Bande are stylish and engaging. On the trumpet Madeuf exudes a bright and pure, even brittle tone at times, rather than more golden and mellow one, and perhaps, after all, there is some interest in the contrast between the ceremonial sound of the trumpet on the one hand, and the more intimate, domestic music-making brought out by the handful of La Petite Bande’s strings behind it on the other. That said, there is a jauntiness in their performance of the Sonata, for example, which makes it seem almost more than chamber music. Madeuf could, however, play the famous Concerto for trumpet with more radiance and in a less clipped manner, and also with more secure intonation, as that poses no problem for him in the Suite, though as he plays without any aids to the instrument some lapses are nearly unavoidable.

Pierre-Yves Madeuf on the horn comes under some strain around the instrument’s higher range in the two concertos in which he plays on this disc, but otherwise he interprets the music with sensitivity and accuracy, not least the playful triplets in the final movement of the Concerto for single horn, and the two horns together sound very warm in the Vivace of the double Concerto.

La Petite Bande performs with notable fervour and enthusiasm, bringing unpretentious flair to this music, to the extent that the Largo opening movement of the double horn Concerto lacks some breadth and majesty. But the first violin’s ornamentation of the melody in its Affetuoso movement makes it sound appropriately like a recitative, and the strings really shine in the Sonata, the first and third movements of which are also given as alternatives without trumpet. Telemann fans need not hesitate.

Curtis Rogers



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