Thomascantors in Dialogue
Works by JS Bach, Fasch, Graupner and Telemann
Thomas Triesschijn (recorder); The Counterpoints XL
Challenge Classics CC 72903 68:34 mins
This release is an oddity. At face value it looks like a straightforward programme of music for recorder and ensemble, but some of it has been subjected to what strikes my ears as intrusive meddling. Telemann’s Ouverture in A minor for treble recorder and strings is one of his best-known works in suite form; but, for reasons not explained, percussion instruments and, notably a stentorian sounding drum have been introduced. Why? It adds no illuminating dimension to Telemann’s lucid textures and seems wholly out of place.
The remaining pieces fare better. Thomas Triesschijn is a fluent virtuoso and his arrangement of three instrumental movements from two of Bach’s cantatas to form a concerto comes over well. The concertos by Graupner and Johann Friedrich Fasch are genuine recorder works and are stylishly played. Neither work is new to the recording catalogue but as companion pieces they offer interesting comparison.
The disc’s title derives from the fact that all four composers competed or, at least, were invited to apply for the Leipzig post that had been vacated by the death of Johann Kuhnau in 1722. The greater part of the accompanying booklet contains an imaginary exchange between the musicians while waiting for their audition. If I tell you that there is a pot plant in one corner of the artificially lighted room, a gurgling water cooler in another and that JS Bach discloses to the assembled company that he always keeps a Siciliano up his sleeve, you will get the drift.