Telemann: Six Canonic Sonatas; Mozart: Canons & Puzzle Canons
Maya Magub, Ben Jacobsen, Marianne Thorsen, Jonathan Morton (violin), Jonathan Moerschel (viola), Richard Harwood (cello)
CRD CRD3542 59:02 mins
Violinist Maya Magub’s latest disc will have listeners running around in circles of the contrapuntal variety. It’s not for the faint-hearted. Six three-movement canonic sonatas by Telemann preface 20 assorted canons by Mozart; 38 short tracks in all, and not a canonic respite in sight.
Magub’s project was born out of Covid lockdown. And having hit on the notion of ‘remote chamber music’, she realised that she could make music with friends across continents; and that canons were the ‘perfect fit’. What was potentially lost in the immediacy of playing together was turned to advantage as each performer enjoyed the luxury of being able to digest and respond at leisure to the ‘ping’ of individual inbox arrivals. (Her liner notes are an informative guide to the challenges – both musical and technical – involved.)
Telemann’s sonatas for two violins prove themselves charmers. And especially so when the performances are alert, full of vivacity and crisply articulated – the first movement of the D major is bright and up on its toes, and the Allegro assai fairly crackles with wide-eyed vitality.
The 20 specimens by Mozart straddle sacred and secular worlds, though presented purely instrumentally, any risqué texts are neatly sidestepped. Bringing up the rear are the four ‘Riddle Canons’ playing the Bach of The Musical Offering at his own game (albeit with a decisive nod to Padre Martini). Each is faded out at the end; an arresting effect undermined by its overuse. Not a disc for consumption at a single sitting perhaps, but indubitably well worth grazing.