An outstanding disc by any reckoning! In terms of pure compositional interest, the calibre of Telemann's music here is exceptionally high. As one of the Baroque period's great experimenters and colourists (along with Vivaldi) it's no great surprise that he should have chosen to write for the chalumeau - a prototype clarinet with an immediately captivating sound. One C18 musicologist said of it: 'its tone has so much interest, individuality and pleasantness, that the whole world of music would suffer a grievous loss if the instrument ever fell into disuse.' Disuse is exactly what befell the chalumeau, of course. It had helped to marginalise the recorder and it in turn was displaced by the clarinet. But with original instrument ensembles like Musica Antiqua Koln, its wonderfully evocative sound has been resurrected. Telemann's Concerto for Two Chalumeaux in d has syncopated rhythms that give the opening movement novel beats as well as novel colours. All four movements are equally inspired.
But treasures abound on this disc. The Trumpet Concerto in D is undoubtedly one of Telemann's best, played here with Baroque simplicity and integrity by Friedemann Immer. And who but Telemann would have thought of pairing violin and trumpet, or recorder and flute as solo instruments in concertos?
Both playing and recording are exemplary, making it little wonder that this disc has received so much critical acclaim. Anyone approaching the music of Telemann for the first time could do much worse than start here, while for those already converted, this CD is probably theirs already. If not, it should be.
As someone who has an unshakeable belief that classical music should be heard as entire works rather than the smorgasbord approach, Telemann is a gift. Not only is the music wonderful but he writes short little pieces, so typically one of these 3 or 4 movement wind concertos lasts 10 to 15 minutes. Its pretty impossible to find the time to listen to, say a Wagner opera if you want to get the whole progression, sweep and journey of the experience: it has to be scheduled for in the diary! Telemann was clearly satisfying music lovers who either lacked the stamina, or the time, to listen to 3 hours worth.
These are like short stories in musical form, and like all good short stories, perfectly constructed in brevity.
There's a delicious brightness and vibrancy about the music, the period instruments and the effervescent playing of Musica Antiqua Koln. There are also surprising and effective pairings of instruments - a beautiful clear silvery trumpet and viola piece for example.
More famous than Bach in his day, Telemann was the most prolific composer of all time and this delightful CD represents only a very small sample of his work. However it is a sample of the highest quality, representing some of the very best of this now sadly neglected composer's work.
Not only are there original and colourful sounds and combinations of instrument but there are also wonderful contrasts in tempo.
The trumpet concerto is one of the finest of the Baroque era and opens with a heart-rendingly beautiful adagio. There is also a lively and very colourful concerto for trumpet and violin.
The two woodwind highlights are the concerto for two chalumeau and the concerto for recorder and transverse flute. The chalumeau was the forerunner of the clarinet and, despite its limited range, has its own distinctive playful and hollow sound. The vivace finale is absolutely delightful. The concerto for recorder and flute weaves a tapestry of contrasting colour and is an absolute gem.
There are also concertos for three oboes and three violins and a concerto for transverse flute, which, while not quite of the same level of originality, are none the less very pleasant.
The performances and the recordings are both outstanding. Congratulations to Reinard Goebel and the Musica Antiqua Koln and to the Sound Engineers. An essential CD for those who adore subtelty and originality in their Baroque Music.
Telemann has been somewhat absent from my collection and I thought this would go some way to redressing the position! This CD includes six Concertos: Transverse Flute, Three Oboes, Two Chalumeux (I had to look this up - it's a forerunner to the clarinet), Trumpet, Transverse Flute and Recorder, and Trumpet and Violin. They are played on original authentic instruments - a speciality of the Archiv label - and the result is a characteristically pure sound. The recordings are crisp and clear and a delight to listen to. Each concerto is quite short - typically around 10 minutes for three or four movements - so there's plenty of variety.
If you like baroque music I'm sure you will enjoy this recording whether or not you are already familiar with Telemann.