Telemann: Six Concerts & Suites, 1734

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COMPOSERS: Telemann
LABELS: CPO
WORKS: Six Concerts & Suites, 1734
PERFORMER: Camerata Köln
CATALOGUE NO: 999 690-2

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Despite the title, these Concerts & Suites are not orchestral pieces but a set of 12 chamber works – six concertos, six suites – initially composed for transverse flute and obbligato harpsichord. Telemann published them in 1734, noting on the title page that a cello could be added to strengthen the bass line and a violin could be used instead of the harpsichord, either replacing it completely or relegating it to a continuo role.

Camerata Köln take full advantage of these possibilities and throw in a few more of their own. They substitute flauto di voce for flauto traverso in three pieces and, at different times, introduce gamba, lute and organ into the continuo. This all provides a pleasing variety of instrumental colour, yet the flute rightly remains the dominant voice. Telemann’s music characteristically blends a number of influences – here, French and Italian, old and new. While the Suites are a typical collection of dance movements, the Concerts are more unusual, mixing elements of traditional trio sonata structure with the fashionable language of galant style.

The whole set makes for delightful, if undemanding, listening. Camerata Köln’s lively, diligent performances underline the music’s unfailing charm.

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Graham Lock