If, like me, you thought that Telemann wrote undistinguished Baroque wallpaper and that while there were recordings of Bach or Handel to listen to then there wasn't a lot of point in bothering with him, then Florilegium's three volumes of Paris Quartets will change your mind. They are an unalloyed delight from start to finish. The music is revealed here to be rich, varied and hugely rewarding, without being in any way hard work. The ensemble play with real verve, poignancy where required, consummate skill and above all sheer pleasure in the music. It is infectious, and combined with the delightful sound of the period instruments - particularly Ashley Solomon's baroque boxwood flute - it makes these pieces irresistible.
The lineup of the ensemble changed almost completely after the first disc, with only Solomon, the musical director, remaining. It says much for him, and for the excellence of the musicians that the loss of the great Rachel Podger doesn't diminish the quality one jot, in my view. I play all of the discs regularly and with equal pleasure. They are all recordings which can wash away the grimness of a rough day, or just bring a warmth to the heart, and go back to them again and again.
All three volumes are very highly recommended, and if Channel Classics have any sense they'll issue them as a set at a reasonable price very soon. In the meantime, separately and at full price, they are still worth every penny.