TELEMANN: Sinfonia & Melodica – Berliner Barock Solisten, conducted by Rainer Kussmaul, with Albrecht Mayer, oboe – DGG B0005761-02, 55:00 mins. ****:
Georg Philipp Telemann has finally made it to yellow label with what might be DGG’s first all-Telemann recording. After years, nay decades, of being relegated (except for an occasional trumpet concerto) to DGG’s speciality Archiv division, the industrious German composer has been elevated to the mainstream label where, presumably, he will compete against contemporaries Bach and Handel. What makes this release doubly special is the presence of two world premiere recordings, both reconstructions from fragmentary manuscripts, one a typical “overture” in C minor, the other a busy three-movement violin concerto in E major.
This is not the Berliner Barock Solisten’s first all-Telemann CD to have made it to the major label mainstream, having previously reached that rung with two superb programs for EMI (one particularly delectable CD featuring flutist Emmanuel Pahud). It is a good one, however, featuring unusual and – even for Telemann – obscure repertoire and first-class playing.
Listeners familiar with Telemann will recognize his good-natured energy coupled with his ability to pull occasional musical rabbits out of his hat while apparently meandering through the byways of the routine. The Andante movement of a D minor oboe concerto, for example, with the superb soloist (Albrecht Mayer) floating about rustling strings, is just one seraphic example.
The Deutschland Radio sound is excellent, the performances confident are in their command of the modern/authentic style, and the effect is, as with most Telemann discs, thoroughly ingratiating. Still, a trumpet concerto might have just hit the spot.
– Laurence Vittes