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Telemann - Burlesque De Quixotte (2003)

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Telemann - Burlesque De Quixotte (2003)

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01-05. Ouverture in G major for 2 oboes, violin concertante and strings
06-13. Burlesque de Quixotte in G major
14-20. Ouverture in B minor for 2 oboes, 2 solo violins, 2 bassoons and strings
21-24. Concerto in D major for 2 violins, bassoon and strings

Collegium Musicum 90
Simon Standage – director

 

One of the most respected and prolific composers of his day, Georg Philipp Telemann was both rival and friend to his better-remembered colleague Johann Sebastian Bach. First choice of the committee to fill the vacant position at the Thomasschule of Leipzig, Telemann used the negotiations there to better his position in Hamburg, where he remained until his death in 1767. The job, of course, went to Bach.

Telemann left behind a vast body of work, both sacred and secular with some 1043 church cantatas, forty-six settings of the Passion (one for each year he worked in Hamburg), several operas and countless works of instrumental music. He is noted for his adaptation to the times, staying current with and mastering the changing styles of music that came along during his very long and productive life.

This disc, delivered with great aplomb by Nicholas Ward and his Northern Chamber Orchestra, is a showcase of the composer’s versatility and his gift for writing vivid and picturesque music. Each of the works in this program is delightful in its orchestrational genius, and all are played with great style and conviction.

In what Telemann labeled a burlesque, we are treated to a programmatic setting of a tale or two from Cervantes’ famous novel Don Quixote de la Mancha. This is musical story-telling at its finest. Of particular charm is the little gallop of Sancho Panza’s donkey, and the vivid depiction of Don Quixote’s attack on the windmills.

The d minor overture is typical of the baroque dance suite, with obvious influence from the French masters. Especially noteworthy here is the virtuosic oboe writing. In a tour de force, the oboists of the Northern Chamber Orchestra deliver a performance that is near breathtaking. It is simply lovely playing, with a precision of ensemble attention to detail that is quite above reproach.

The highlight of the Suite in E-flat is its charming third movement, La Vielle, which is an orchestral impersonation of the hurdy-gurdy, and instrument with a drone bass as its principal element of interest. One does not hear a device like this one in Baroque music as a rule, and Telemann’s clever insertion of the folk idiom makes this piece unique and gives it a special winsome character.

Warm and vibrant sound quality, with concise and informative program notes round this disc off nicely, adding yet another gem to the Naxos diadem. Pure delight, this. ---Kevin Sutton, .musicweb-international.com

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