Clare Wilkinson and Florilegium perform Concertos by Telemann

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COMPOSERS: Georg Philipp Telemann
LABELS: Channel
WORKS: Concerto in E, TWV53: E1; Concerto in A minor, TWV52:a1; Cantata – Ihr Völker hört, TWV1:921; Concerto in D, TWV51:D2; Concerto a 4 in A minor, TWV43: a3; Overture in F, TWV55: F16
PERFORMER: Clare Wilkinson (mezzo); Florilegium


Don’t read the liner notes until you’ve searched for an anomaly in the cover painting, ‘Boy playing a flute’. You’ll share the enjoyment on his face as you listen to Telemann doing what he does best, mixing a wide range of colours and national styles in concertos, a splendid Overture, and a sacred Cantata with an uplifting Hallelujah ending. Telemann uses a fascinating mix of contrasting solo instruments – matching in sonorities if not in contrapuntal skill Bach’s Brandenburgs, with recorder and flute, various oboes and strings and, in the final Overture, two horns with bassoon.

Among high spots are a concerto for flute, oboe d’amore, viola d’amore and strings (TWV53:E1) – its gentle opening floating with seeming inevitability, resonating with the listener’s expectations yet overflowing with a constant stream of fresh invention. The A minor concerto TWV43:a3 entwines, in constantly changing patterns, recorder, oboe and violin above continuo, with a particularly testing and inventive final vivace

Ashley Solomon is the solo flautist in the more familiar Concerto in D, TWV51:D2. Although Telemann never visited Italy, he acquired a firm grasp of Italian music. The slow movement of this concerto matches Vivaldi at his most pensive, while the finale is a fine exhibition of lively virtuosity. 

Many of Telemann’s solo cantatas are rushed compositions. I remember spending an inordinate amount of a student grant on an Urtext edition of a collection of them, only to find that the voice was constantly doubled by instrument above continuo. Ihr Völker Hört is a stunning exception, flute and strings framing a recitative, then aria – a rare and imaginative structure. Clare Wilkinson’s clear, uncluttered mezzo soprano perfectly partners the flute in a final Hallelujah. 

Lastly, an Overture in F introduces horns – impeccably played – with bassoon and strings, a rich, alluring sound. Three movements, Loure I/II, Menuet I/II and Forlane, are omitted due to lack of space on the CD but are available as hi-fi-quality sound files on Channel Classics website. If you buy the CD, they’re downloadable free of charge.

There’s a bonus disc, celebrating 25 years of Florilegium with 16 tracks of cherry-picked past recordings including a breathtakingly animated Spanish-American dialogue, Fuera! Fuera! by Roque Jacinto de Chavarria, performed by Solomon’s Bolivian Choir, Arakaendar. Mocking Spaniards and Indians are finally reconciled by the present of the new-born Jesus. A gem.

A superb disc which must rank as an outstanding buy for every Telemanniac – and see p27 of the booklet notes to discover the aberration in the pictured flautist!


George Pratt