telemann flute warner

Déjà Review: this review was first published in January 2003 and the recording is still available.

Georg Phillipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Concerto for flute in G major TWV 51: G2
Concerto for two flutes, violone, strings and continuo TWV 53:a1 (from Tafelmusik)
Concerto for transverse flute, strings and continuo, TWV 51:D2
Concerto for flute, oboe d’amore, viola d’amore, strings and continuo TWV 53:E1
Concerto for flute, strings and continuo in D, TWV 51:D2
Emmanuel Pahud (flute)
Rainer Kussmaul (violin) Georg Faust (cello) Wolfram Christ (viola d’amore) Klaus Stoll (violone) Jacques Zoon (flute) Albrecht Mayer (oboe d’amore)
Berliner Barock Solisten/Rainer Kussmaul
rec. 2002
Originally reviewed as EMI Classic release
Warner Classics 5573972 [66]

Emmanuel Pahud, the Swiss-French flutist, who was, like his illustrious predecessor James Galway, the principal of the Berlin Philharmonic, has in recent years taken off on a spectacular solo career. Unlike his Irish counterpart, Pahud has yet to resort to pop music and gimmicks to sell records, and has released a series of nearly flawless recordings for EMI. I do not know of another classical artist active today whose recordings I will buy on release day, simply because he is on them. Pahud is one of the most solid, artistic and refined musicians in the world, and this splendid collection of concerti by Telemann has risen to the very top of my listening pile in very short order.

Telemann was the most respected composer of his generation. Admired and imitated by such stars as Bach and Handel, Telemann was monumentally prolific, leaving behind hundreds of cantatas, chamber works, keyboard and orchestral pieces. The highlight of this recital is the recently reconstructed concerto in G major TWV 51:G2. Through the painstaking work of Arn Aske and Ulrike Feld, a gem has been restored to the repertoire. Until 2000 this piece was thought unplayable as the manuscript, housed in the library at Rostock was all but unreadable. Acidic ink had eaten holes in the paper, obliterating notes and the ink had bled through pages upon which both sides of the paper were written. Further, there were huge portions of score missing where the pages were torn completely away. Through great effort and research into Telemann’s style in 1721 when this piece was composed, Aske and Feld were able to reconstruct the concerto enabling us to enjoy this lovely work again.

To my ears, there is not a flaw to be found in this recording. Telemann of course, was a master orchestrator and his writing for the soloists is perfectly idiomatic. The balance between the soloists and orchestra is excellent. The Berliner Barock Solisten is as tight an ensemble as I have ever heard. Intonation is perfect, balances right on and they have a wonderful sense of the elegance of this music. Soloists in addition to Pahud play beautifully and in the double and triple concertos there is a delightful sense of collegial give and take. Albrecht Mayer’s oboe d’amore sings with splendid contralto warmth in the E major concerto TWV 53:E1.

Recorded sound is right on the mark here, with excellent balance, lovely ambience and warmth. No flaws in the programme booklet either, with fascinating and informative notes by Ulrike Feld, complete biographies of the artist, and even a personnel list of the orchestra with details about their instruments. An absolute winner, this disc is not to be missed.

Kevin Sutton

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