Telemann: Concertos, TWV 51:G2, 53:A2, 53:A1, 53:E1 & 51:D2

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COMPOSERS: Telemann
LABELS: EMI
WORKS: Concertos, TWV 51:G2, 53:A2, 53:A1, 53:E1 & 51:D2
PERFORMER: Emmanuel Pahud (flute), etc; Berlin Baroque Soloists/Rainer Kussmaul
CATALOGUE NO: 5 57397 2
This is the second disc of Telemann’s music performed by the Berlin Baroque Soloists. It’s not a period-instrumental ensemble, yet it has embraced some of the ideals sought by specialist practitioners of 17th- and 18th-century music. The results are pleasing, in the main, and the programme, as in the previous issue (reviewed last February), a rewarding one. All five of the concertos feature a flute, sometimes in a solo capacity, sometimes in partnership with other concertante instruments. Two of them have had ‘first recording’ status bestowed upon them which, for once, is probably fully justified. One of these, in G major, has had to be substantially reconstructed from a manuscript which has suffered the ravages of time; but the editorial work has been sensitively done and the piece, whose opening bars bear a strong affinity with the Sinfonia from Bach’s cantata, BWV 156, is well worth rescuing. The other, in A minor for two flutes, shares ground with the Baroque suite.

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The most impressive and generously proportioned concertos, however, are no strangers to the recorded catalogue. The Concerto in A major for flute, violin, cello and strings comes from the first of three autonomous Productions which make up Telemann’s comprehensive orchestral/instrumental anthology Musique de table. The other is a Concerto in E for flute, oboe d’amore, viola d’amore and strings. In both, Telemann demonstrates his skill in blending disparate instrumental colours. Emmanuel Pahud and his fellow soloists are sensitive to this quality, while also responding to the composer’s supple rhythms, expressive tendresse and distinctive folk music inflections, derived from central Europe and a dominant feature of the D major Flute Concerto. Nicholas Anderson