We know that Telemann was the most popular composer of his time, way ahead of Bach. And that he also probably turned out more works in more varied genres than did Bach – at least four times as many cantatas, for example. Many examples of Telemann’s music have been recorded, but the selections on this disc are rare. They include both exercises for amateur oboe players which are designed for home use but still are of extremely high quality, plus sonatas for more virtuoso performers. Each movement of the works has its own unique character and requires a special sort of technical expertise.
Close listening reveals that these pieces are not of the Baroque “sewing-machine music” ilk, but genuine pieces of sometimes astonishing emotional depth similar to the best of Bach’s writing. The Sonata II in D and the Sonata 1 in G are especially interesting because both are “Sonaten im Kanon” for two solo oboes, and Pauline Ooetenrijk plays both parts via multitracking to the DSD recorder. I don’t believe I have ever heard true canons so lengthy and perfectly voiced from beginning to end. The two voices are spatially separated some distance on the stereo soundstage so there is no difficulty in hearing their amazing interplay as each movement progresses. Ms. Ooetenrijk pens a tongue-in-cheek page in the notes about this experience of split personality. (The only problem is all the notes are all in caps and about four-point type. Zoot alors! Never mind design, give us text that is readable for seniors, please!)
This Dutch label does only stereo SACD releases, but with the highest sonic standards – usually originating on DSD. Early music seems to be their focus, but they also have issued two excellent discs reinterpreting Piazzolla tangos.
– John Sunier