Concerto TWV 51:C1 in C major; Concerto TWV 52:F1 in F major; Ouverture-Suite in G major, TWV 55:G5*
Vincent Lauzer (recorder), Mathieu Lussier (bassoon); Arion Baroque Orchestra/Alexander Weimann*
ATMA Classique ACD 22789 59:12 mins
Telemann’s Concerto in C major for recorder has appeared many times in the recording catalogue and is among the most rewarding pieces for the instrument of the late Baroque period. Even more impressive, though is the companion Concerto in F major on this disc, scored for treble recorder, bassoon and strings. Seasoned devotees of this composer’s music probably will have first encountered it in an unforgettable recording with Frans Brüggen, Otto Fleischmann and the Vienna Concentus Musicus directed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. I mention it not for any feeling of nostalgia but because these artists revealed an understanding of Telemann’s art which was and remains revelatory.
That being said, this new recording by the Canada-based Arion Baroque Orchestra is lively, stylish and immensely enjoyable. Vincent Lauzer’s recorder playing is athletic and virtuosic as readers will discover in the Tempo di minuet of the C major Concerto. The tempo is far too brisk for my understanding of a minuet, but the trend is regrettably fashionable at the moment. The double concerto comes off well with effective, well-balanced dialogue between the protagonists. The third movement Grave is sensitively executed, though elsewhere Mathieu Lussier’s intonation is not infallible.
The G major Ouverture-Suite for two oboes, bassoon and strings is a substantial work and, as far as I know, recorded here for the first time. Its ten movements are in Telemann’s best manner, where pièces de caractère jostle with more abstract utterances, among which an ‘Entrée’ and a ‘Plainte’ deserve special mention. Ian Payne’s edition is excellent and so is the performance and the recorded sound.