G.P. Telemann - Ouverture Suites
During the early 18th century the ouverture (suite) enjoyed great popularity at the German courts. While Johann Sigismund Kusser was the first to add a French ouverture to the German suite, Georg Muffat is generally regarded as the composer that introduced the French ouverture to Germany with his publication of "Florilegium primum [1695"] and "Florilegium secundum ". Georg Philipp Telemann, along with J.S. Bach, Graupner en Fasch, developed this genre into the form known simply as the "ouverture". The title "overture", should be understood here as the abbreviated form of overture with all the airs and dance movements. At the beginning of the 18th century, the French ouverture was freed from its scenic role to become an instrumental form in its own right. The ouverture form was characterized by a slow and solemn opening section with a stately dotted rhythm followed by a quick fugato section and a return of the initial slow section. A suite of dance movements then follows the overture as such.
The first ouverture suite featured on this CD is the "Suite in a minor" for recorder, strings and basso continuo and was most likely composed between 1704 and 1706 in Soltau at the court of Count Erdmann II of Promnitz. The work is noteworthy for its diversity of combinations of solo flute and accompaniment: tutti; solo flute passages with Basso Continuo; solo flute with 1st and 2 violin; etc. Of particular interest are the passages in "Les Plaisirs" and "Passepied 1 & II". Both of these dances are in ABA form where, in the contrasting B section, Telemann sets out the solo flute with the 1st and 2nd violins without the accompaniment of the basso continuo.
The second ouverture presented here is the "Ouverture in D major" (TWV 55:d6) for viola da gamba, strings and basso continuo. Telemann's use of the viola da gamba as solo instrument in this suite is unique as among his surviving ouvertures as this is the only suite with this instrumentation. His use of the viola da gamba doubling the 1st violin at the octave in the tutti passages in the ouverture produces a rich sound and an intimate atmosphere that sets this work apart from many of the other ouvertures written by Telemann. Of particular note is the polyphonic nature of the "Courante" where the viola da gamba and the 1st violin intertwine with a rich polyphonic writing in the 2nd violin, viola and basso continuo.
The "Concerto in d minor" TWV 43:d2 belongs to the form known as the "ripieno concerto", a genre usually associated with Italian composers as Vivaldi and Torelli. Johann Gottfried Walther noted in his "Musikalisches Lexikon oder musikalische Bibliothek"  that this style of concerto belongs to "those violin pieces which are set in such a manner that each part stands out for a certain amount of time and thereby enters into competition with the others". Telemann probably composed this concerto during his time as "Konzert" and "Kappelmeister" in Eisenach.
Current research shows that in most German towns and cities during the late 17th century the performance of music at court and by the local "collegium musicum" was more than likely played with one player per part. During the first two decades of the 18th century, the larger courts, for example Darmstadt and Dresden, were able to increase the size of their kapellen to the point where there were a sufficient number of musicians available to add more than one player to each part in the string orchestra. This was however the exception rather than the rule for the most German courts during this period. The reality remained that a performance with one player per part was the norm well into the 18th century in most parts of Germany.
For this CD we have chosen to perform all works using the principle of one player per part. Although the reasons mentioned above are sufficient to warrant a performance in this manner I am of the firm opinion that the music recorded on this CD was conceived with this style of performance in mind.