LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: La Bizarre Overture; Suite in D; Violin Concerto in A (Les rainettes); Les nations Overture
PERFORMER: Midori Seiler (violin); Berlin Academy of Early Music
CATALOGUE NO: HMC 901744
The three suites and concerto on this disc show the congenial Telemann at his most sparkling and uninhibited. There are dramatic French-style ouvertures, energetic dance movements and pieces which demonstrate the composer’s endearing sense of humour – like the tongue-in-cheek portraits of Turks, Swiss, Russians and Portuguese in Les nations, and musical imitations of the sounds and antics of frogs in the Violin Concerto Les rainettes.
Few orchestras could play these works with such technical bravura and panache as this crack German group. Ensemble, rhythm and intonation are all highly polished; the string sound is lustrous, woodwind- and brass-playing first rate. Midori Seiler makes a fine soloist in the concerto – if a rather too refined frog. In the suites, some of the faster movements can sound unrelenting and breathless, as if the band has switched to cruise-control. Here, Telemann’s rather four-square music might benefit from a more yielding approach – something which the orchestra offers in the delicately scored air of the D major Suite, or the reflective sarabande of La Bizarre. Nonetheless this is dazzling playing, full of joie de vivre and stylistic awareness. The recorded sound, too, is excellent. Kate Bolton