Telemann: Trio Sonatas

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WORKS: Trio Sonatas
PERFORMER: Passacaglia
Passacaglia is a group consisting of two recorders, viola da gamba and harpsichord. Who better than Telemann to provide such an ensemble with interesting and idiomatically written pieces? Recorder-playing was one of the composer’s many accomplishments, along with a number of other instruments the listing of which would occupy half of my allotted space. Most of the sonatas here will be familiar to performers and audiences alike, for they have long been popular both on the concert platform and in the recording studio. Two of them come from Telemann’s ground-breaking musical periodical Der getreue Musik Meister – the D major Gamba Sonata has an especially beguiling opening movement whose tempo is here as perfectly judged as the entire piece is beautifully played, while two others belong to his fine chamber music anthology Essercizii musici. Two further trios are less often heard, belong to no set, published or otherwise, but survive in a manuscript. The Duo, on the other hand, does belong to a set of six such pieces, which Telemann published in Hamburg in the 1720s. Passacaglia plays all with sparkling enthusiasm and disciplined ensemble. Occasionally, slow movements come across as a shade too weighty and pedestrian but elsewhere the performances benefit from expressive phrasing and an infectious joie de vivre. Nicholas Anderson