Twelve Fantasias for solo flute
Ashley Solomon (flute)
Channel Classics CCS 40617
Telemann published his 12 Fantasias for solo flute in either 1732 or 1733. They are inventive and idiomatic in no small part owing to the composer’s practical performance knowledge of the instrument for which he was writing. As Telemann himself remarked in one of his autobiographical sketches he had become at an early age conversant with a wide range of instruments including the transverse flute. Stylistic eclecticism was a distinctive feature of music by German composers of the mid to late Baroque. Among these richly varied Telemann pieces Italian and French styles – and that pleasing blend of the two which the composer Quantz later termed the mixed or German style – effortlessly share in the dialogue. Distinctively French, for instance, are the opening dotted ‘Alla Francese’ rhythms of Fantasia 7.
While these Fantasias are well represented on record not all competitors realise the element of fantasy with such intuitive and spontaneous flair as flautist Ashley Solomon. He rings the changes between two flutes that are almost contemporaneous with the music, and a third which is a modern copy of an instrument from Telemann’s own time.
Channel Classics’s recorded sound is sympathetic and Solomon’s accompanying essay is thoughtful and informative. Just occasionally I was aware of very small intonation discrepancies but they did nothing to diminish my enjoyment of stylish and sympathetic playing.