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Pamela Thorby - Telemann: Recorder Sonatas and Fantasias - American Record Guide

14 March 2016
American Record Guide
Peter Loewen

The program includes recorder sonatas from Telemann's Essercizii Musici, and Getreue Music-Meister, a music periodical edited by Telemann, where music was published in serial form over several issues. Each sonata is between three and four movements long, exhibiting virtuosic passage work and counterpoint in the fast movements and lyrical writing in slow movements. Some have programmatic titles that evoke feeling. For example, the first movement of the F-minor Sonata, marked ‘Triste', uses chromaticism to evokes feelings of despair. The C-major sonata begins with a songlike movement titled ‘Cantabile'.

Disc 2 includes the unaccompanied 12 Fantasias a Travers, Sans Basse. Steven Zohn notes that it was common practice, in the 18th century, for recorder players to transpose flute pieces. Hence, all but one (no. 11) of the 12 Fantasias is performed in keys better suited to the recorder. To accomplish the task, Pamela Thorby uses variously pitched alto recorders and voice flutes pitched in D and E-flat.

The performances are excellent overall – tastefully phrased and lightly ornamented to bring out the genius of Telemann's writing.

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