Composer: Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer: Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra: Holland Baroque Society
Number of Discs: 1 SACD-R
Bit Depth: 64 (2.8 MHz/1 Bit)
Number of channels: 5.0, 2.0
Label: Channel Classics
Size: 4.1 GB
G.P. Telemann – Ouverture and Concerti
Holland Baroque Society / Alexis Kossenko
Ouverture E Dur TMV 55
01. No titel
02. Les Cydopes
03. Menuet & Trio
04. Galimathias en rondeau
Concerto in D Dur TWV 53
Concerto in F Dur TWV 52
Concerto in B Dur TWV 53
Concerto in g Dur TWV 54
18. No titel
A glance at the Channel Classics catalogue will reveal that the label has an enviable number of fine recordings of the Baroque repertoire, not least due to the number of excellent ensembles specializing in music from the 17th and early 18th centuries that are based in the Netherlands.
The Holland Baroque Society is one such group, and this well filled and superbly recorded SACD of four Telemann concertos and an ‘Ouverture in E minor’ is a testament to their outstanding quality. The seventeen musicians play without a conductor and appoint a new artistic leader for each new project. For this Telemann programme they are directed by Alexis Kossenko, a flautist and musicologist whose mastery of his chosen instrument encompasses not only the modern flute but also, as here, the recorder and the baroque flute (traverso).
George Philip Telemann was something of a polymath, but ironically his fame as probably the most prolific composer of all time, with an astonishing compositional facility resulting in a catalogue of some thousands of works, has tended over time to count against him. In his lifetime Telemann’s reputation as Germany’s greatest composer far outstripped that of Bach, but the sheer quantity of his output has inevitably led to charges of mere competence and routine being levelled at it. The fresh and imaginative performances on this disc should certainly help to put into question ‘perceived wisdom’ regarding at least some of his music.
The ‘Ouverture in E minor’ with which the programme begins is a succession of five contrasting dance movements. Ouvertures of this type originated in France with Lully, but were quickly adopted by German composers. Telemann’s fondness for this compositional form (he wrote more than 600 of them) was chiefly responsible for the enormous popularity of these orchestral suites in Germany. The work opens with an ebullient overture that is followed by five dances of varied character, including a sprightly ‘Galimatias en Rondeau’ that tests the virtuosity of the wind players.
The four concertos that complete the programme are:
Concerto in D TWV 53:D6 for two traversos, violin and cello
Concerto in F TWV 52:F1 for recorder and bassoon
Concerto in B flat TWV 53:B2 for two traversos, oboe and violin
Concerto in G TWV 54:G1 for two traversos and bassoon
In each concerto Telemann, provides wonderful opportunities for the individual players from the HBS to shine and, as can be inferred from the instrumentation listed above, there is no lack of aural variety or pace. All six soloists are impressive, but I particularly enjoyed the interplay between the recorder of Alexis Kossenko and the bassoon of Jane Gower in the F major concerto.
The recordings made in the lively acoustic of the Waalse kerk, Amsterdam are both clean and detailed, with a lovely ambience captured in the multi-channel mix. Informative notes by Gerard van der Leeuw on the composer, and Alexis Kossenko on the music complete this most enjoyable addition to the Telemann discography.