Paris Quartets: Fugue in A minor, TWV 30:14; Quartet in B minor, TWV 43:h2; Quartet in F, TWV 43:F1; Quartet in G, TWV 43:G1; Quartet in E minor, TWV 43:e4
Alpha Classics ALPHA 299
Paris Quartets has become the catch-all term for four different Telemann collections printed in Germany and Paris between 1730 and c1752. This attractive disc contains a quartet from the 1730 set, printed in Hamburg and later pirated by a French publisher, two further quartets from Telemann’s most accomplished set issued under the composer’s auspices in 1738, and a single work from the c1752 Paris collection, once more unauthorised.
Telemann was much admired during his lifetime for his trios and quartets. It is not hard to see why for these elegantly and idiomatically crafted pieces scored for flute, violin, viola da gamba and harpsichord are full of melodic enchantment and expressive nuance. Such is the case with the concluding Modéré of the E minor Quartet, a melancholy chaconne in the character of a sarabande. Elsewhere, we find a rich variety of styles sometimes, as in the recitative-like opening Adagio of the F major Quartet, seeming to foreshadow the ‘empfindsamer Stil’, at others drawing upon French and Italian characteristics and the folk music idiom of central Europe thus demonstrating the mixed style of which he was a consummate master.
These excellent performances by NeverMind explore the rewarding subtleties of Telemann’s writing with intimacy and an unerring sense of stylistic decorum. I hope that they will finish the task that they have embarked upon.