Telemann: Sonate metodiche (complete)

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COMPOSERS: Telemann
LABELS: Dabringhaus und Grimm Gold
WORKS: Sonate metodiche (complete)
PERFORMER: Konrad Hünteler (flute), Rainer Zipperling (cello), Carsten Lohff (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: MDG 311 1110-2
The title sounds dreary enough, but do not be put off by it, for here are 12 sonatas for flute or violin and continuo which are full of invention and expressive charm. Telemann issued the first six of them in Hamburg in 1728, following up the publication with six further sonatas in 1732. Uninviting though the collections may sound – its didactic purpose was to assist performers with the art of embellishment, especially in slow movements – Telemann nevertheless wears his learning lightly, and players, especially, will find plentiful rewards.

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In these performances a Baroque transverse flute is preferred throughout which, though understandable, is a pity from a programming viewpoint. There is comfortably over two hours of music here and a change of colour from woodwind to string would have been welcome. But Konrad Hünteler, with excellent continuo support, plays all with understanding and affection.

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Some sonatas are more immediately engaging than others – the A major is particularly alluring – and to get the best out of them I found that listening to groups of three at a time provided me with a balanced diet. There is a rival version by Frans Brüggen and others (Sony) which I enjoy more, mainly on account of its greater variety of melody instruments, but the newcomer can be confidently commended. Nicholas Anderson