Telemann: Paris Quartets

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WORKS: Paris Quartets
PERFORMER: Barthold Kuijken (flute), Sigiswald Kuijken (violin), Wieland Kuijken (viola da gamba), Gustav Leonhardt (harpsichord)
Of the recorder players, Ehrlich is a touch less vivid than Dan Laurin, though a wonderfully fluent player with a silvery edge to his tone. He plays both the familiar sonatas (Telemann published four for amateurs in the fortnightly journal Der getreue Musik-Meister) and two hitherto neglected as their bass lines are lost. Richard Egarr’s restoration of them is as convincing as the sometimes wayward recorder parts allow – a welcome addition to the repertoire. The clever canonic sonata


is without harpsichord – effective, if questionable, as the printed bass has figures to guide a keyboard realisation.

Laurin’s Scandinavian ensemble offers a mixed programme, from a solo sonata – providing a direct comparison with Ehrlich – through trios including a pair of gentle tenor ‘voice flutes’, to a delightful cantata. Soprano Bente Vist (new to me) floats effortlessly through virtuosic figuration in a description of hell – a veritable musical chamber of horrors. Laurin’s booklet notes are particularly accessible and informative.

The Kuijken/Leonhardt team’s three discs offer six Quadri published first in Hamburg, and six Nouveaux Quatuors from Paris. Splendidly played, they are a kaleidoscope of Baroque styles – the vitality of Italian concertos, French elegance, with hints of what Telemann himself called ‘the true barbaric beauty’ of his early Polish experiences.


All three recordings confirm Telemann’s immense imagination and craftsmanship, sometimes unfairly called into question because of his unparalleled productivity. George Pratt