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Telemann’s Garden

Elephant House Quartet (Pentatone)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Telemann’s Garden: Fantasia No. 7 in A minor – Lentement; Suite No. 5 in A minor; Fantasia No. 9 in B minor – Siciliana; Paris Quartet No. 3 in G; Fantasia No. 1 in A minor; Trio Sonata No. 10 in A minor; Solo Sonata No. 9 in E minor – Recitativo & Arioso
Elephant House Quartet
Pentatone PTC 5186 749   58:56 mins


The title of this disc salutes Telemann’s love of flowers. In August 1742 he wrote to a fellow musician, Johann Friedrich von Uffenbach, expressing his passion for hyacinths, tulips, ranunculi and in particular, anemones. Elephant House Quartet have chosen a programme to reflect the imagined colours and fragrances of Telemann’s garden.

The music is drawn from the five collections of instrumental music that Telemann published in a period between c1726 and 1738. It need not worry us, unduly, that two of the works here were written expressly for the transverse flute, since Bolette Roed is an outstanding recorder player. Her accomplished technique and musical empathy ensure fluency and stylistic propriety in the A minor Suite from the Six Concerts et Six Suites of 1734 and the G major Quartet from the Parisian Nouveaux Quatuors of 1738. The third piece of substance is the A minor Trio Sonata for recorder and violin from Telemann’s anthology Essercizii musici, long thought to have been published in about 1740 but now known to belong to an earlier period, c1726.

The remaining pieces are movements from the Fantasias for solo harpsichord, solo violin, solo flute, and another for viola da gamba from Essercizii musici. The warm rapport of this Quartet with Telemann’s deftly crafted and idiomatic instrumental writing ensures an hour of uninterrupted pleasure. Regrettably three of these four solo items have been limited to a single movement. Why not let us hear the complete works? They are not long and there was plenty of space for them.


Nicholas Anderson