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Telemann : Concertos - Apex
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Telemann : Concertos - Apex

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Concentus musicus Wien, Frans Brüggen, Otto Fleischmann, Alice Harnoncourt, Walter Pfeiffer, Peter Schoberwalter, Kurt Theiner, Hermann Rohrer, Horst Fischer, Jürg Schaeftlein, K
1 Aug. 2003 | Format: MP3

£3.49 (VAT included if applicable)
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 1996
  • Release Date: 1 Aug. 2003
  • Label: Warner Classics International
  • Copyright: 2003 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 53:41
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001LGXKD6
  • Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 183,195 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

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Format: Audio CD
This is music to make you jump out of your chair, run to the window, throw it open and yell to the passers by that all is well with the world. If you wanted to prove a correlation between charm in music and charm in character then I suspect Telemann is the first example you would take. He was obviously an incredibly nice man, godfather to all sorts of people including Bach's sons, a friend of Handel (who knew where to pinch his inspiration) all time mister nice guy. And there it all is in the music. Listen to the opening of the concerto for three oboes and three violins and, if you can, stop yourself from laughing out loud at the way he throws the material from group to group with imperturbable bonhomie.

His problem is that he wrote too much but then so did Handel. The surprising thing as more and more gets put onto cd is that so much of it has real quality. All of the pieces on this disc are wonderful without exception. Alas the performances are not. Compare the version of the concerto just mentioned with the one recorded on Chandos by Simon Standage. In that performance, nothing stands in the way of the rhythms bouncing, the articulation is a model of clarity and the music positively fizzes. Harnoncourt is determined to impose a curious "expressivity" on the music which stands in its way and says more about the conductor that it does about the music. The performance of the Overture for 2 horns, violins and continuo is even worse. Tubby, stodgy it comes out like uncooked Kaiserschammern. Fortunately there are plenty of other performance from which to choose. If expense is an issue then go for the performance in Volume II of the complete Overtures which are coming out on the extraordinary Brilliant label. They have got as far as Volume III, but how many more there will be I have no idea. Telemann is supposed to have written over 600, and the majority are still extant. It might not be such a cheap purchase...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I only enjoyed it once. From the second time on, the quality of the sound has been awful - like listening to Telemann's music on a very windy day!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9d82f498) out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c831168) out of 5 stars very nice, and a good price 4 Feb. 2015
By John K. Gayley - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I found this same recording on the old Das Altewerk label (an Apex precursor). Curious, I scouted about on my IPhone for any reviews on amazon and found none, so ventured onto other websites. MusicWeb, one of the best in the business, reviewed this Apex re-release but couldn't recommend it. It was recorded in the mid '60s, and the musical world has moved on since then, the review noted. This album couldn't compete given all we have learned about period performances since then.

Well, all good and fine. I now feel suitably reminded I was born during the Eisenhower administration. However, its worth observing that the leading baroque groups in the '60s--led by the likes of Harnoncourt, Leonhardt, and Bruggen--were the very forefront of the period music movement, and (more importantly) had Telemann's measure even then. These are lovely, gracious performances of beautiful baroque music, displaying all the inventiveness and charm that set Telemann apart.

Yes, I agree, the concerti on this CD are not played at the breakneck, double-black-diamond-fast tempi that many current early music bands use to play Telemann. But that doesn't really detract one iota from the beauty of the music, or these performances. I find that Telemann, like many compositions of Bach and Handel, actually can be played at somewhat more moderate tempi without you feeling the need to stamp your foot on a mental gas-pedal and exhort the performers to go grab an expresso. In the right hands, Telemann's largos, adagios and andantes are soulful, but never maudlin. Some of this soul gets trammeled over when played at historically "accurate" tempi, regardless of the ravings of the Hipster secret police.

One last point. Telemann composed an incredible variety of concerti for different instrument lineups. Das Altewerk, and Apex did a great job in choosing concerti and overtures for each of their records/CDs that amply displayed this variety.

So, this is a good bargain for some wonderful music. Respect your elders! Go buy something older than your grandparents!
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