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RECORDING OF THE MONTH

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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Concerti da Camera: Volume 1

Quartet TWV43:a3 in a minor for recorder, oboe, violin & basso continuo [11:08]
Quartet TWV43:h3 in b minor for flute, viola da gamba, bassoon & b.c. [8:41]
Quartet TWV43:g2 in g minor for oboe, violin, viola da gamba & b.c. [9:48]
Quartet TWV43:G12 in G for flute, 2 viole da gamba & b.c. [15:20]
Quartet TWV43:g4 in g minor for recorder, violin, viola & b.c. [8:20]
Quartet TWV43:d3 in d minor for flute, violin, cello & b.c. [7:44]
Quartet TWV43:G11 in G for flute, violin, bassoon & b.c. [6:49]
Camerata Köln [Michael Schneider (recorder); Karl Kaiser (transverse flute); Hans-Peter Westermann (oboe); Christine Busch (violin); Ulla Bundies (viola); Rainer Zipperling (viola da gamba & cello); Ghislaine Wauters (viola da gamba II - 43:G12); Sofia Diniz (viola da gamba, basso continuo - 43:G12); Marita Schaar (bassoon); Sabine Bauer (harpsichord)]
rec. 17-19 March 2015, Deutschlandfunk Chamber Music Hall, Berlin. DDD.
CPO 555131-2 [68:03]

NB: The details given on some dealers’ sites are incorrect, with minor key works listed as in the major and the wrong instrumental line-up in some of the works.

Telemann was a prolific composer and Camerata Köln have recorded a good deal of his music, but I have yet to hear anything by Telemann or anything performed by Camerata Köln (CK) that was not immediately enjoyable. The present album of seven varied chamber works, all but one featuring the flute with different combinations of instruments, is no exception.

Any work by Telemann which features the flute or recorder is very special; one of the best introductions to his music is the a-minor suite for flute (recorder), strings and continuo, TWV:55a2 and one of the best recordings of that comes from none other than Camerata Köln (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472773242, with Overture in D, TWV55:D23 and Suite in D for viola da gamba and strings, TWV55:D6 – Presto CD). Michael Schneider and Rainer Zipperling feature as soloists there; they also appear on the new CPO recording.

Alternatively, there's Maurice Steger with the Akademie für alte Musik, Berlin (Harmonia Mundi HMC901917, with Concerto in C and Hamburg ‘Water Music’, CD, or download in lossless sound from eclassical.com, no booklet; also included in A Telemann Companion, 7 CDs at budget price – review). Mention of box sets reminds me that CPO have gathered their eight CDs of Telemann’s Wind Concertos, though still available separately, into a box set (CPO777939-2, La Stagione Frankfurt and Camerata Köln – review of volumes 6-8, Recording of the Month).

One or all of those wind concerto recordings is very well worth considering, but so is the new recording of music on a smaller scale but equally delectable. I can’t select any one of these works, effectively mini concertos, or any one of the performers for special consideration; it’s all very good and very well recorded.

When everything is so perfectly in place, it seems superfluous to make comparisons, but the G-major quartet, TWV55:G12 features on an older (1991) Telemann recording, one of a series which I’ve long enjoyed, made by Collegium Musicum 90 (CM90) and Simon Standage, with Rachel Brown as the distinguished flautist (CHAN0525).

That very fine performance comes as part of a very varied programme of domestic instrumental and vocal music. As so often, I couldn’t lay my hands on the CD without a frantic search, but it can be streamed from Naxos Music Library or downloaded (mp3 for £7.99 or lossless for £9.99, with pdf booklet) from chandos.net. Having done the latter, I certainly enjoyed re-making the acquaintance of that recording and there’s very little to choose between it and the new CPO except in the soave third movement, where CM90 adopt a sprightlier tempo. Having enjoyed CK’s more measured account, I found Standage’s team a little perfunctory but, while my vote is marginally in favour of the CPO, confirming my very high opinion of their recording overall, the Chandos is by no means headed for the charity shop.

Rounded off with a set of informative notes, this is yet another fine release from Camerata Köln and CPO. Back in 2008, in one of my earliest reviews for MusicWeb, I recommended Volume 2 of their Telemann Wind Concertos as an excellent way to start a journey of discovery of the composer’s music – review. I could say exactly the same of the new recording; I can’t imagine why we had to wait three years for its release.  Roll on volume 2.

Brian Wilson



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