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Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Concertos and Ouverture
Concerto for recorder in C major, TWV 51 C1 [15:50]
Concerto for recorder and bassoon in F major, TWV 52 F1 [17:33]
Ouverture for two oboes, bassoon, strings, and continuo in G major, TWV 55 G5 [26:18]
Vincent Lauzer (recorder), Mathieu Lussier (bassoon)
Arion Orchestre Baroque/Mathieu Lussier, Alexander Weimann
rec. 2015/2019, Église Saint-Augustin, Mirabel, Québec, Canada

Telemann may not be Bach, but his compositions are rarely without interest and, particularly in his instrumental music, perhaps represent a happy medium between the harmonic and contrapuntal facility of his younger German contemporary, and the lively melodic invention of Vivaldi. Probably his music requires no more apology than that, although one wonders what connecting thread there is supposed to be among the three compositions on this disc, unless it is simply that, given the Overture’s prominent pair of oboes, and a bassoon, they all contain solo woodwind parts. They also testify to Telemann’s eloquent integration of a range of different national musical styles, as the liner notes discuss, whilst preserving a distinct musical personality in his own right.

Mathieu Lussier directs an elegant and crisp account of the C major Concerto for recorder, though perhaps a little more solid than that led by Hugo Reyne from the solo instrument on a recent release (review). Vincent Lauzier holds his own firmly in the solo part against the Arion Orchestre Baroque, even as he ornaments the basic melodic line playfully. In any case, both soloist and ensemble allow Telemann’s quirky music to speak for itself, bringing out an expressively languid Andante, and an ebullient final Minuet among its more traditional structure of four movements.

Lussier takes up the bassoon himself for an equally animated interpretation of the Concerto for that instrument and recorder, complementing the lucid timbre produced by his colleague on the latter with his own neatly rounded tone on the bassoon, rather than projecting anything especially reedy and rich. Where the Vivace second movement teems with bustling life, the Grave third movement exudes mystery in its dissonant suspensions and treading bass lines.

The Ouverture, or French-style suite, which rounds off the programme is the real gem here, Alexander Weimann balancing finesse and vitality in his performance. The orchestra play its ten movements freshly, bringing out the rhythms of the various dances with infectious zest but avoiding excessive ornamentation or affectation. As so often in Telemann’s many Ouvertures, there are a clutch of pictorial – or at least extra-musical – movements, and these are characterfully realised here: the perky ‘Les Augures’; ‘La Joye’, hardly able to contain its excitement within the proper bounds of its form; and ‘Plainte’, quietly musing and questioning, underlined by the softly throbbing double bass. Where the clean attack on the Rondeau and Entrée are exemplary, the ensemble could adopt more of a rough-edged abandon for the Gigue. But overall, with the sympathetic support – rather than showing off – of Matthew Jennejohn, Daniel Lanthier, and François Viault in the two oboe and single bassoon parts respectively, this is a winningly sophisticated performance. With over a hundred Ouvertures where this one came from, please will these forces provide more!

Curtis Rogers

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