Telemann: Suite in A minor for recorder and strings; Concerto in C major for recorder and strings; Concerto in A minor for recorder, viola da gamba and strings

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COMPOSERS: Telemann
LABELS: L’OISEAU-LYRE
WORKS: Suite in A minor for recorder and strings; Concerto in C major for recorder and strings; Concerto in A minor for recorder, viola da gamba and strings
PERFORMER: Philip Pickett (recorder); Mark Levy (viola da gamba); New London Consort/Philip Pickett
CATALOGUE NO: 433 043-2 DDD
Telemann’s reputation has veered almost from the sublime to the ridiculous in the last 250 years. Deemed in his lifetime to be superior to Bach, he later fell victim to the prejudice that a man who had written so much could not possibly have written it well.

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Now his stock has risen again and the A minor Suite is a popular piece, with well-regarded versions already on disc from Edlinger (Naxos) and Holman (Hyperion). An overture of ceremonial flourishes leads to a set of zestful dances, their French, Italian and Polish origins underlining Telemann’s cosmopolitanism.

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The concertos are vivacious works too, with fine virtuoso writing for recorder in the C major and a lovely Dolce duo topped by a feisty Allegro in the A minor. These are beautifully judged performances by the New London Consort, with tempos and textures striking a perfect balance between the stately and the sprightly. Graham Taylor