WORKS: Suites, Fantasias, Chorale Preludes,
PERFORMER: Gerald Gifford (h’chord, chamber organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CPE 84333
In his keyboard works, Telemann combines his own genial style with French galanterie, Italian vivacity, and exoticisms from eastern Europe, producing music that is immediately appealing and constantly varied. So anyone looking for a way into Baroque keyboard music may well enjoy this selection, which includes suites, fantasies and an ouverturefor the harpsichord – pieces that were probably intended for playing at home or for didactic use – as well as several chorale preludes and fugues for the chamber organ. They’re played by Gerald Gifford on a copy of a harpsichord by Henri Hemsch of 1756, and a chamber organ modelled on one by Gottlieb Naser made in 1734.
Gifford is a sensitive and intelligent interpreter, thoroughly conversant with Baroque idiom, and his obvious enthusiasm for this repertoire is infectious. He plays with daunting rhythmic control – for my taste, a little too unyielding – but I suspect many will find these interpretations refreshingly lacking in self-indulgence. The disc doesn’t say where the recording was made, but the brittle edge to the harpsichord and cavernous acoustic hardly flatter the performances. Kate Bolton