Telemann: Overture in C (Wassermusik); Concerto in A (Die Relinge); Overture in F (Alster)

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COMPOSERS: Telemann
LABELS: L’OISEAU-LYRE
WORKS: Overture in C (Wassermusik); Concerto in A (Die Relinge); Overture in F (Alster)
PERFORMER: Pavlo Beznosiuk (violin), Andrew Clark (horn)New London Consort/Philip Pickett
CATALOGUE NO: 455 621-2
These works capture Telemann the tone-painter at his most inventive and playful, evoking a variety of aquatic tableaux and fanciful marine creatures, from singing swans to love-struck sea-gods.

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Both the Wassermusik and the Alster Overture date from Telemann’s early years in Hamburg, then a thriving port on the Elbe. The 1723 Wassermusik opens with a grand French ouverture, a prelude to a suite of dances that depict nautical scenes such as ‘Naiads at Play’, all sketched by Telemann’s deft orchestral colourings. The 1725 Alster Overture follows suit, though with a broader comic touch and with horns rather than flutes and recorders to the fore. Bariolage effects in the charming ‘Frogs’ concerto supposedly represent croaking sounds, though I’ve never heard pond life this melodious.

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Philip Pickett elicits vivid performances from the New London Consort. Their Alster Overture eclipses the 1993 version by Simon Standage and Collegium Musicum 90, but his extremely slow tempi in the Wassermusik’s opening movements are less convincing. Overall these are delightful performances, full of vitality. Graham Lock