Telemann: Flute Quartets

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COMPOSERS: Telemann
LABELS: Globe
WORKS: Flute Quartets
PERFORMER: Wilbert Hazelzet (flute), Alda Stuurop (violin), Wim ten Have (viola), Jacques Ogg (harpsichord), Lidewij Scheifes (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: GLO 5146
Because all the sonatas in Telemann’s Fourth Book of Quartets have an identical Adagio-Allegro-Adagio-Allegro plan – barring No. 1 – the CD back cover makes for a rather dull read. Happily, though, the ingenuity with which Telemann utilises his chosen instruments means the aural outcome is far from humdrum.

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At times the flute, played with great poise by Wilbert Hazelzet, takes on a recitative-like solo role leaving the strings and harpsichord to accompany with sustained chords (first movement of Sonata in F); at other times the various strands of the ensemble mirror, question and answer one another in delicately majestic phrases or swinging duple-time melodies. Throughout the Allegros, the instrumentalists imitate the character of their thematic predecessor with precision, instilling a sense of vibrancy and creating an impressive cohesive clarity.

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The Andantes, however, cry out for more attention. Much of their intrigue lies in slow-changing harmonies rather than in melody or rhythm, so they require greater dynamic contrast in order for climaxes to reach their full potential and dissonances to be resolved to maximum effect. Occasionally momentum sags, but with no movement stretching even to three minutes there is little room for real inertia to set in. Kate Sherriff