“A Cembalo Certato E Violino Solo“ Bach: Complete Sonatas for obligato harpsichord and violin, plus Sonatas by CPE Bach, Graun, Schaffrath, Scheibe, Telemann Phillipe Grisvard, Johannes Pramsohler Audax Records. ADX 13783. 3CDS. 60’28, 73’10,75’07
Johann Sebastian Bach: Complete Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin BWV 1014–1019, BWV 1022, BWV 1020 Johann Adolph Scheibe: 3 Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord Christoph Schaffrath: Concerto in A Minor CSWV F:30 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Sonata in B Minor, Wq 76 Johann Gottlieb Graun: Sonata in B-flat Major GWV Av:XV:46 Georg Philipp Telemann: Concerto in D Major, TWV 42:D6
This 3-CD package sets Bach’s Sei Sonate a Cembalo certato e Violino solo (together with two others whose authenticity is questioned) against similar pieces by other composers of Bach’s time, several of which are world premiere recordings. Each CD is a complete concert in itself, with two or three of the Bach Sonatas, a Sonata by Johann Adolph Scheibe plus related pieces by Georg Philipp Telemann & Christoph Schaffrath (CD1), Johann Gottlieb Graun (CD2), and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (CD3).
Fantasie G. Ph. Telemann (1681-1767): 12 Fantasias for Flute Solo Joana Amorim, flute Veterum Musica, VM028. 55’26
Telemann published his 12 fantaisies à traversière sans basse (TWV 40:2–13) in Hamburg in 1732/3. It was one of a series of four sets of fantasias for unaccompanied instruments that he published between 1732/5: 36 for harpsichord and two sets of 12 each for violin and viola da gamba. This new recording from Veterum Musica features the Portuguese flautist Joana Amorim in an impressive interpretation of these delightful miniatures that feature practically every musical idiom of the period.
Réunion des goûts Ensemble Molière Heath Street Arts Heath Street Baptist Church and Livestream. 21 December 2021
Lully – Ouverture from Psyché Couperin – Sonade from L’Impériale, Les Nations Telemann – Quatuor No. 6 in E minor from Nouveaux quatuors en six suites Charpentier – Suites from Le Mariage Forcé Couperin – Chaconne ou Passacaille from La Françoise, Les Nations
The last concert in the 2021 series of the Heath Street Arts’ Tuesday Lunchtime Concerts (TLC) at Heath Street Baptist Church, Hampstead was given by Ensemble Molière under the title of Réunion des goûts. Sharing the stage with an enormous Christmas tree, their programme reflected the merging of French and Italian musical styles that had been pioneered by François Couperin and developed by Georg Philipp Telemann. It was initiated by Couperin in his L’Apothéose de Lully and Les Nations. Telemann continued the trend with his 1738 Nouveaux quatuors en six suites – the ‘Paris Quartets’.
Look, no Bass! Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment OAE Player from Thursday 25 November
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is a self-managed and democratic orchestra and gives its players considerable freedom to choose programmes and music. In their latest video offering on their OAE Player, Look, No Bass!, the OAE’s violinists present a programme of music for violins alone, highlighting the various textures and colours of their ubiquitous instrument. Their programme includes Telemann’s two Concerti for Four Violins, his programmatic Gulliver Suite Duo (from Der getreue Musikmeister), and arrangements by the OAE violinists of a Gabrieli Canzon and pieces by the English composers Matthew Locke and John Adson.
Suonare è danzare Academy of Ancient Music, Laurence Cummings, Bojan Čičić Live from West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge. 12 February 2020
MuffatArmonico Tributo Sonata in G BachSonata in E minor for violin and keyboard, BWV 1023 TelemannConcerto polonoise in B flat major Handel Sonata in G Op.5, No.4
It is often said by music commentators that practically all Baroque music is fundamentally based on dance. Dance was certainly a key part of 18th century life, a fundamental part of the education system, and underpinned many aspets pf social and political discourse. This is the first of a three-concert mini-festival from AAM Live 2021, live-streamed (via ticket purchase) from their Cambridge home in the West Road Concert Hall. The Acadamy of Ancient Music under Laurence Cummings (pictured), their Music Director designate, directing from the harpishcord, joined with the AAM leader, violinist Bojan Čičić for a programme of music in celebration of dance.
‘Seeing Double’ Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Jonathan Cohen Kati Debretzeni,Nicola Benedetti, Rudolfo Richter Katharina Spreckelsen,Sarah Humphrys OAE Player. 19 November 2020
Avision Concerto Grosso no.5 in D minor Vivaldi Concerto in D for two violins RV 513 Vivaldi Concerto in D for two violins RV 514 Vivaldi Concerto in A minor for two oboes RV 536 Bach Concerto in D minor for two violins BWV 1043 Purcell Rondeau from Abdelazer
The second of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s premieres on their digital platform OAE Player was a concert of Vivaldi and Bach double concertos recorded at the Snape Maltings in front of a socially-distanced audience. Many people will have already heard or seen an expanded version of the programme as one of the live concerts of the much reduced 2020 BBC Proms season. The principal violin soloist for both concerts should have been Alina Ibragimova, but the death of her father (the distinguished double bass player Rinat Ibragimov) the day before the Prom resulted in Nicola Benedetti stepping in for the Proms and this concert, which seems to have been recorded the following day in the far more suitable acousics of the Snape Maltings.
Apollo e Dafne Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Roderick Williams Rowan Pierce, Katharina Spreckelsen OAE Player. 9 November 2020
Telemann Der am Ölberg zagende Jesus TWV 1: 364 JS Bach Cantata, Ich habe Genug BWV 82 Handel Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 2/1 HandelApollo e Dafne HWV 122
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) has responded to the Covid crisis by opening a new digital platform, OAE Player. For this Premiere Night concert, they were billed as returning to their resident home at the Southbank Centre for the first time since the first lockdown although, as you will read, that turned out to be not quite the reality. Each of the filmed concerts (there are currently twenty available on the OAE Player) are available to watch individually for a great deal less than a concert ticket (and without the costs of travel) or there is an option of accessing all the concerts with an annual pass.
Duo1702+ – Coffee Edition Louise Hjorth Hansen, recorder Katrine I. Kristiansen, organ Gateway DUO170201. 58’56
“Baroque music in the name of coffee – induced by Covid-19” is the sub-text of this recording from Duo1702 and friends. Made in response to the Covid crisis, the two Danish members of Duo1702, Louise Hjorth Hansen, recorder, and Katrine Kristiansen, organ, are joined by five of their musical friends to perform music by Bach, Finger, Telemann, Morten Ræhs, Purcell, and Vivaldi. Their intention is to recreate the atmosphere of the Zimmermann Kaffeehaus in Leipzig where Bach and his sons made music to the accompanyment of coffee drinking.
The Elysium Ensembleare the Australian duo Lucinda Moon, baroque violin, and Greg Dikmans, baroque flute. This recording is part of a historical performance research project aiming to identify neglected or newly discovered chamber music from the Baroque and early-Classical periods, in this case looking at Sonatas from Telemann’s Melodious Canons, composed in Paris. together with three of his solo fantasias dating from his 1728 and 1735 publications in Hamburg. Continue reading →
The Early Horn Ursula Paludan Monberg
Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen
Hyperion CDA68289. 78’32
One of the most astonishing developments in musical instrument technology came with the elevation of the horn from its role a rather elemental rallying call to 17th-century aristocratic huntsmen to a sophisticated member of 18th-century court orchestras and chamber groups. One of the key aspects of this development was the technique of hand-stopping to alter the pitch. This was combined with the division of the 15 or so feet of tubing of the wound hunting horn into two parts, the smaller changeable crock allowing for changes of key. This recording explores the wide range of music composed for the natural horn during the 18th-century. Continue reading →
Masters of the German & Italian Baroque
La Serenissima, Adrian Chandler
Signum Classics SIGCD602. 66’09
For long the undoubted champions of the music of Vivaldi, as their name suggests, La Serenissimaare spreading their musical wings to explore the musical triumvirate of Telemann, Pisendel and JS Bach, all three closely connected, together with the composers Fasch, Vivaldi and Brescianello, who also had links with the principal trio. As La Serenissima note on their website, the links are that Pisendel was godfather to one of Telemann’s children; Telemann was godfather to CPE Bach;. JS Bach admired both Pisendel and Telemann and composed for the violinist Pisendel; Vivaldi helped Pisendel with his A minor concerto movement; Fasch was a friend of Pisendel and Telemann, and Pisendel played concertos by Brescianello, an Italian who helped to spread disseminate Italian instrumental music throughout the German-speaking lands.Continue reading →
Korkyra Baroque Festival Korčula, Croatia 31 August – 14 September 2019
The Korkyra Baroque Festival (Korculanski Barokni Festival) was founded in 2012 on the delightful Adriatic island of Korčula (aka Korkyra, Korcula) on the Dalmatian archipelago between Split and Dubrovnik in the southern part of Croatia. Drawing attention both to music and the cultural and artistic heritage of Korčula, the festival runs annually for about two weeks at the beginning of September. Concerts (of just over an hour in length) are generally first performed in the historic fortified town of Korčula and are then repeated in other towns on the island, on nearby islands,, and on the Peljesac peninsula.
For those educated in the Western European countries, the history and music of Central and Eastern Europe can be something of a mystery. This recording sheds some very welcome light on some of the roots of the musical tradition of the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires, much of it inspired by the travelling musicians and peoples known variously as Roma or Gypsies. Based on research by director Vittorio Ghielmi on Gypsy melodies found in the the Sepsiszentgyõrgy manuscript, the wide ranging programme include anonymous folk arrangements together with adaptions of such melodies by composers such as Telemann, Benda, Tartini, Vivaldi and Kirnberger.
Telemann and his Subscribers
Tabea Debus, recorder
TYXart TXA18107. 66’34
Recorder player Tabea Debus is one of the most impressive young musicians of her generation. She has already featured many times in this review website for her CDs and concert performances (see here). Her latest recording is a clever combination of two genuine Telemann pieces for recorder (the Sonata in C, TWV 41:C2 and Concerto in F, TWV 51:F1) forming a sandwich with a filling of four suites of pieces collated and arranged by Tabea Debus from Telemann and three of the composers who subscribed to Telemann’s music publications. Telemann was one of the pioneers of music publishing funded by inviting pre-publication subscriptions – an early form of crowd-funding. Amongst those subscribers were Bach, Handel and Blavet, the three composers whose pieces are collected into suites on this recording. Continue reading →
by Dall’Abaco, Porpora, Marcello, Tartini & Telemann
The English Concert, Harry Bicket
Signum Classics SIGCD549. 68’43
Dall’Abaco (1675-1742) Concerto a piu instrumenti in D major Op.5 No.5
Porpora (1686-1768) Cello Concerto in G major
Marcello (1673-1747) Oboe Concerto in D minor
Tartini (1692-1770) Violin Concerto in B minor D.125
Telemann (1681-1767) Viola Concerto in G major TWV 51.69.
At first sight, this appears to be a blatant promotional effort on behalf of The English Concert (who are celebrating their 45th birthday), one clue being calling it after themselves, rather than the composers or music it contains. I think that image is unfortunate, as the music and the instrumental soloists are of the highest order. It is based on the composers and performers connected with the many early 18th-century European court orchestras, several of which proved to be pioneering musical hothouses, albeit depending on the whims of the current princely ruler. The featured soloists are Nadja Zwiener (violin), Tuomo Suni (violin), Joseph Crouch (cello), Katharina Spreckelsen (oboe), Alfonso Leal del Ojo (viola), all regular members of The English Concert rather than bought-in soloists. Continue reading →
Itinéraire Baroque en Périgord Vert 26-29 July 2018
The annual Itinéraire Baroque en Périgord Vertfestival is now in its 17th year. It is based around the towns of Ribérac and Verteillac in the northern part of the Dordogne-Périgord region of western France. It was founded by Robert Huet and Ton Koopman, the former a local resident and director of the organising committee, the latter the artistic director and occasional import from The Netherlands, along with musical friends and family. It started as the one-day event that gave the festival its name – the Itineraire Baroque, a musical tour of some of the little-known Romanesque churches of the region. It was intended as much to draw attention to these often locked churches as for any musical intent. It has now expanded to cover four days over the last weekend in July. The theme for this year’s festival was ‘Looking towards Spain’, although only a few concerts made more than a casual nod in that direction. In fact, as a weekend dominated by Netherlanders, it was no surprise that several of the concerts focussed on the historic battles between the Dutch and the Spanish, viewed from a Dutch point of view – perhaps ‘Trying to get rid of Spain’ would have been a more accurate title. The programme for this year’s festival can be found here.
XII Fantasie per il Flauto senza Basso Tabea Debus, recorders
TYXart XA18105. 79’51
Telemann’s 12 Fantasias for solo Flute paired with pieces commissioned by the City Music Foundation from the 12 contemporary composers: Leo Chadburn, Ronald Corp, Moritz Eggert, Arne Gieshoff, Dani Howard, Oliver Leith, Colin Matthews, Fumiko Miyachi, Misha Mullov-Abbado, Alastair Penman, Max de Wardener and Frank Zabel.
There is more than enough classical music around to keep performers happy for hundreds of years to come, but without new composers and compositions, music as a creative art form will die. So this recording from recorder player Tabea Debus is particularly important. In conjunction with the City Music Foundation, she commissioned 12 contemporary composers to write companion pieces to Telemann’s 12 Fantasies, originally written for solo flute, but here performed very effectively on a range of different recorders. I reviewed some of the new pieces during a Baroque at the Edge festival earlier this year (see here), but this CD brings them all together in a fascinating sequence of Telemann and contemporary takes on Telemann. Some of the new pieces follow the relevant Telemann Fantasias, some introduce them – and some are interspersed within the Telemann movements. Continue reading →
Telemann: Complete Trio Sonatas with Recorder and Viol
Chandos/Chaconne CHAN0817. 67’00
This excellent recording explores the compositions that Telemann considered to be his best – his Trio Sonatas. Da Camera (Emma Murphy, recorders, Susanna Pell, treble and bass viols, Steven Devine, harpsichord) performs eight such Sonatas, four from the 1739 Essercizii musici and four from the collection of Telemann manuscripts surviving in Darmstadt, mostly dating from the 1720s. The Darmstadt pieces are particularly interesting in that Da Camera use the combination of instruments specified by Telemann, with recorder and dessus de viole (treble viol), rather than the more usually heard combination of recorder and violin. Telemann’s indication makes perfect sense, the delicately expressive and sensitive sound of the treble viol both blending and contrasting perfectly with the recorder. Continue reading →
Telemann: Fantasias for Viola da Gamba Robert Smith Resonus RES10195. 79’15
Telemann is the gift that keeps on giving. His latest offering was the discovery in 2015 of the previously lost set of Gamba Fantasies. In accordance with his very successful business approach, they were published two at a time over six fortnights in 1735. Aimed at the upper performing end of the amateur market, they also present many challenges for the professional musician. As Robert Smith writes in his own programme notes, a performer can approach these pieces with no preconceived ideas of how they might be performed. Unlike, for example, the Bach Cello Suites with many decades of recording and teaching, these Telemann Fantasias have a clean performing slate. Continue reading →
Baroque at the Edge Festival LSO St Lukes & St James Clerkenwell. 6 January 2018
With a headline of “Imagine if Bach was a jazzman, Vivaldi a folk-fiddler, or Handel a minimalist…”, the new Baroque at the Edge festival launched itself onto the London musical scene. Headed up by Lindsay Kemp and Lucy Bending (the pair who for many years ran the London Festival of Baroque Music and its predecessor the Lufthansa Festival), the festival invited musicians from the classical, jazz, and folk world to “take the music of the Baroque and see where it leads”. They promised “No rules, no programme notes, no lectures: all you need to know is how to listen”. The Baroque at the Edge title was also given to the May 2017 LFBM festival, the last to be directed by Lindsay Kemp and managed by Lucy Bending – a nice link to their then unannounced new festival. The Baroque at the Edge festival included six concerts and a family event, spread over a three day weekend. After an opening Friday night piano recital, the Saturday (6 January) featured four events, starting with a lunchtime concert in the impressive late Georgian church of St James, Clerkenwell.
Telemann, Bach, & Scarlatti
Da Camera with Carolyn Sampson
Kings Place. 20 September 2017
I reviewed Da Camera’s very first concert, in March 1999 at Hampstead’s Burgh House, noting that “Emma Murphy is a superb recorder player … she combines outstanding virtuosity with musical intelligence and sensitivity”, and that harpsichordist Steven Devine was (amongst other things) “clearly blessed with enviable technical skills”. In 2001, I commented on their “well-balanced programme, a friendly and informal stage manner, fine musicianship and superb playing” – a comment that they quoted in the programme for this Kings Place concert. In a later review, I praised Susanna Pell for producing a “wide range of tones and textures from her gamba, both in accompanying and in solo pieces”. Since those early days, they have each developed their own independent careers (and, indeed, families), but have now returned to the musical fray with a series of concerts and a new Telemann CD. Continue reading →
Itinéraire Baroque en Périgord Vert
‘A Telemann Year’
27-30 July 2017
The annual Itinéraire Baroque en Périgord Vertfestival is based in the communes of Ribérac and Verteillac in the northern part of the Dordogne region of south-western France. It was founded by Robert Nicolas Huet and Ton Koopman, the former a local resident and now President and Director of the organising committee, the latter the Artistic Director and an occasional import from The Netherlands, together with his musical friends and family. The festival was initially the one-day event that still gives the now festival its name – the Itineraire Baroque, a musical tour of some of the extraordinary Romanesque churches of the region. But it has now expanded to fill four days over the last weekend in July with a wide range of concerts of Baroque music.
The focus for this year’s festival (the 16th) was Georg Philip Telemann (on the 250th anniversary of his death), a composer now usually overlooked by Bach and Handel (both of whom he knew personally), but who in his time was held in equally high esteem. A self-taught musician, he started to study law in Leipzig, but quickly moved into the city’s musical world. After short spells in princely courts, he moved to Frankfurt and eventually Hamburg where he directed the music in all the city churches. He was the first choice for the Leipzig post that Bach, the third choice, eventually accepted in 1723. He left an enormous amount of music, demonstrating his musical talent and ability to absorb national styles into his own music, notably from France and Poland. Continue reading →
Telemann: Concerti for Wind Instruments
Etcetera KTC 4004.
Telemann: Concerto in e, TWV 52 e:1; Concerto in a 6, TWV 52 e:3; Concerto in a, TWV 52 a:1; Concerto in D, TWV 51 f:1;Septet in Bes, TWV 44:43.
Recorded in 2003, this is presumably a reissue, although I couldn’t anything to confirm that. It is not listed on il Gardellino’s website. Matthessohn seems to have been one of the first to wonder how Telemann managed to compose so much music. This, and the dominance of Bach in the revival of German baroque music, has always been a bit of a problem. The opening Concerto in this CD helps by including several moments that many listeners might recognise. Matthessohn also commented that “Telemann alone is beyond all praise and lauds”, and this CD demonstrates the exceptional quality of his music. Both technically and musically, his compositional skill is self evidence, as is the breadth of his creative imagination. Continue reading →
‘New discoveries for an ancient instrument’
Richard Boothby, viola da gamba
Garrick’s Temple, Hampton on Thames,
Loki Music, 23 September 2016
One of the most delightful of London’s music venues is Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare, by the Thames just upstream from Hampton Court Palace. Built in 1758 by the actor/manager David Garrick as part of his riverside estate, this tiny octagonal room is host to a number of cultural events, including regular summer music concerts run by Loki Music. The last of this season’s Loki concerts was given by the distinguished viola da gamba player, Richard Boothby, founder of Fretwork and the Purcell Quartet.
The first half was particularly interesting, with five of the recently discovered Fantasias for solo viola da gamba by Telemann (TWV 40:26-37). Continue reading →
Die höfische Blockflöte
Astrid Andersson, blockflöten
Cornetto-Verlag COR 10040. 71’44
Corelli: Sonata Nr. 9; Fontana: Sonata Seconda; Hotteterre: Suite Op 4/2; Telemann: Fantasie Nr. 7, Sonata d-moll; Schop: Lachrime Pavaen; Eyck: Prins Robberts Masco aus “Der Fluyten Lusthof”; Dieupart: Suite Nr. 2 from “Six Suittes de Clavessin”.
Using modern copies of seven different types of historic recorder (blockflöte), Die höfische Blockflöte (The Royal Recorder) explores the link between musical instrument making and the various royal courts of Europe. The recorders range from two different versions of the two mid-17th century Rosenborg soprano recorders, one made in maple, the other (at higher pitch) in the original material, narwhale tusk, both made by Fred Morgan. The originals are to be found amongst the Crown Jewels in the Royal Collection in Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen. It can bee heard in Jacob Van Eyck’s Prins Robberts Masco. Continue reading →
Jean-Christophe Dijoux, harpsichord
Geniun GEN 16420. 81’31
Works by Handel, Buxtehude, Böhm, JS and CPE Bach, Mattheson, and Telemann
Jean-Christophe Dijoux was the winner of the harpsichord category of the 2014 Leipzig International Bach Competition, and this CD stems from that success. Born in Réunion, Dijoux studied in Paris, Freiburg and Basel, spent a year touring with the European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO), and won awards for continuo playing at the 2013 International Telemann Competition. Using two harpsichords (built by Matthias Kramer of Berlin after 1701 and 1754 originals) and four different temperaments, he explores music with a connection to Hamburg. Both instruments have 16’ stops, adding an impressive gravitas to the sound.
Improvisation is at the heart of music of this period, and very clearly also of Dijoux’s own playing style. That is evident from Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
Conversations avec Dieu
Le Concert Étranger. Itay Jedlin
Ambronay AMY045. 77’17
Motets and Cantatas by Hammerschmidt, Scheidt, Telemann and Bruhns. Organ pieces by Scheidemann and Scheidt. Instrumental pieces by Monteverdi, Hammerschmidt and Rosenm:uller.
One of the musical traditions of German Lutheran church music was the sacred cantata or motet addressed directly to God, often in a conversational style, with a response to the plea coming either from God or, more frequently, from Jesus or other believers. This CD explores several examples of this genre, with a focus on the composer Andreas Hammerschmidt, given an overdue bit of exposure. Although he was well known in his day, and composed more than 400 works, his music is not often performed today. It is in a relatively simple style, in comparison with his contemporaries, and shows the gradual development of a true German Baroque style, built on the influence of Italian models. Five of his vocal works are included here, together with an instrumental Pavane. Continue reading →
OAE @ 30 – Bostridge sings Handel
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Ian Bostridge, Steven Devine
St John’s, Smith Sq. 14 October 2015
Telemann: Overture/Suite in F; Ich weiss, dass mein Erlöser lebt; So stehet ein Berg Gottes from Der Tod Jesu;
Handel: Concerto grosso in D minor Op. 3 No. 5; Scherza infida from Ariodante; Love sounds th’ alarm from Acis and Galatea; Silete venti; Water Music Suite No. 1
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are so much a part of musical life that it is hard to realise that they are just 30 years. Founded some years after (and in direct response to) the raft of director-controlled period instrument groups, so influential in those early days, they reacted against the control of individual conductors by setting up their own self-managed orchestra, employing their own conductors as and when required, but often directing themselves. Seemingly able to bring together a disparate group of highly individual and highly qualified musicians, each with their own views (and without, it seems, too much blood letting), they set a precedence for the musical world.
Early involvement with a youthful Simon Rattle probably taught him as much as he taught them, and they soon attracted conductors of the calibre of Ivan Fischer, Roger Norrington, Mark Elder and, more recently, Vladimir Jurowski, all now honoured as Principal Artists. The distinguished Bach scholar and conductor John Butt has just joined that impressive list. They often perform without a conductor, producing excellent results through the encouragement and support of one their own. They opened their 30th birthday season in such a fashion when Steven Devine, one of their principal keyboard players and an increasingly distinguished conductor in his own right, took over the conducting reigns (from the harpsichord) for a programme of Telemann and Handel with tenor Ian Bostridge. Continue reading →
The Saxon Alternative – Telemann: Music for Wind Band
Resonus Classics RES10154. 62’04
Overtures TWV 44:7, 55:c3; 44:2; 55:B3; 44:14
The sound of the Baroque wind band was (and still is) more often heard on the continent than in the UK, so this CD from Syrinx is a refreshing reminder of just how attractive baroque wind instruments can be. It would be interesting to research the extent to which the weather was an explanation for this, as the wind band was often used in Germany for outside entertainment, always rather risky in the UK. Two of the five Telemann Overtures on this CD feature the traditional French-inspired German Continue reading →