Telemann: Tafelmusik, Part 1; Tafelmusik, Part 2 (excerpts)

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LABELS: Channel
WORKS: Tafelmusik, Part 1; Tafelmusik, Part 2 (excerpts)
PERFORMER: Florilegium
Telemann issued his three-part orchestral and instrumental anthology Musique de table in 1733. It was a carefully organised project of impressive dimensions which attracted attention much further afield than his native Germany. Among the many distinguished subscribers to the publication were Handel in London, Quantz in Berlin and the flautist-composer Michel Blavet in Paris. Each part of the Musique de table consists of an orchestral suite, a concerto, a quartet, a trio, a sonata for melody instrument with basso continuo and a short orchestral coda simply termed ‘Conclusion’. Florilegium has dipped into the First and Second Parts, or ‘Productions’ as Telemann called them, to make an appealing programme. Readers already familiar with the composer’s instrumental magnum opus will know that there is not a dull piece to be found in it. That was certainly Handel’s view, since he made liberal use of several of the pieces as the bases of his own. Of particular allure, perhaps, are the Quartets of which form Telemann was something of a pioneer. The beguiling charm of the G major Quartet, with its galant inflections, is among the loveliest pieces of the entire collection. Florilegium plays it with expressive delicacy, caressing the tender contours of its opening bars with appealing grace. The ensemble responds equally to the faster movements with spontaneity and, where called for, modest virtuosity. The warmly inflected Trio Sonata also fares well though there are occasional insecurities of tuning. Only the recorded sound tempered my enjoyment. It struck my ears as too cavernous and inhospitable for such intimate music-making as this. Nicholas Anderson