Telemann: Suites and concertos for recorder
Erik Bosgraaf, Ensemble Cordevento
Brilliant Classics 95248. 75’46
Suite in E-flat, TWV 55:Es2; Suite in A minor, TWV 55:a2;
Concerto in F, TWV 51:F1; Concerto in C, TWV 51:C1.
Telemann taught himself to play the recorder, violin and zither before the age of 10, and continued to practice the recorder well into his teens – something very few youngsters do today. He seems to have retained a love for the recorder, judging by the number of pieces he wrote for it, including these Suites and Concertos. Incidentally, the two Suites are both titled Ouverture in their manuscripts, and are examples of Telemann’s so-called concert en ouverture style of composition, which combines elements of the traditional suite with the overture. Apart from the E-flat suite (which is intended for the flute pastorelle, which perhaps means the panpipes), all the music is from the same manuscript surviving in the Hesse Court library in Darmstadt, suggesting that they were composed for Michael Böhm, Telemann’s brother-in-law and a virtuoso woodwind player. They are all written for alto recorder.
Both types of piece reflect Telemann’s cross-cultural inspiration, taking bits of French and Italian style with a dollop of the inevitable Polish influence. The two Suites follow their opening overture with a sequence of different dance movements, the Concertos are in traditional four movement form. As usual with Telmann, the music is jovial and good natured, something that Erik Bosgraaf responds to well. His playing is crisp and articulate, with careful delineation of individual notes, however fast the music. He is well supported by the 13 players of Ensemble Cordevento
Curiously, the programmes refer to the four pieces in the reverse order to that on the CD. Also curiously, the CD cover is a grainy photo of a naked child of indeterminate gender sitting on a white table in the middle of a rather unkempt field looking, not surprisingly, rather puzzled – and so am I.
The CD is released on 20 May 2016 at bargain price.