WORKS: Suite burlesque de Quixotte; Suites in A for violin, TWV 55:A8, in D for viola da gamba, TWV 55:D6, & in A minor for strings, TWV 55:a7,
PERFORMER: Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1226
Together, these discs contain the three orchestral works by which Telemann has long been best known. The Naxos recording features the Suite in A minor for recorder and strings and the Concerto in E minor for flute and recorder, while the BIS programme includes the Don Quixote Suite for strings, one of the finest examples in a form in which Telemann excelled. The recorder soloist for the Naxos recital is a talented young German musician, Daniel Rothert. He enlivens the music with crisp articulation, fluent passagework and pleasingly inventive ornaments. That is also true of the three concertos, in the most familiar of which he is joined by flautist Elke Martha Umbach. The Cologne Chamber Orchestra, under its director Helmut Müller-Brühl, is warmly supportive.
The BIS programme pulsates with life. The witty burlesque of Telemann’s Quixote Suite is played to the hilt and, indeed, on occasion to the gallery. There are some wild moments in this performance, seasoned with extravagant ornamental caprice. Telemann’s keenly observed vignettes of the Knight of the Lions, of his larger-than-life squire, Sancho Panza, and of Princess Dulcinea, contain among the most enduring images and pleasures from his pen that I can think of. And where the antics of Quixote’s skinny old horse Rosinante, and those of Sancho’s mule are concerned, the Drottningholm musicians capture all with admirable esprit and no breaches of stylistic decorum. The remaining works are of high quality. Nicholas Anderson