Ensemble Meridiana - Tastes of Europe - International Record Review
01 June 2011International Record Review
One of the features of Telemann's compositional style that
lends enchantment to his music is his skill in blending contrapuntal discipline
with the more readily accessible syntax and inflexions of the early classical
period. Telemann was admired by his contemporaries
above all for his chamber music, especially trios, and it is these which occupy
the greater part of an attractive programme by Ensemble Meridiana. Two of the trios belong to Telemann's fine
chamber music anthology Essercizii Musici
(c 1739), while another well-known
piece for recorder to be by Pierre Prowo, a younger contemporary working in
Hamburg during Telemann's long period in office there, and who clearly was
influenced by the older composer's style.
Among the most pleasing and accomplished items here, though,
are two quartets for recorder, oboe, violin and basso continuo. These are not quartets in the sense that we
generally understand the term today but chamber concertos in which each part
other than the continuo has an obbligato role.
Here, as so often, Telemann reveals his practical understanding of the
colour, character and tonal strengths of each instrument. The invigorating Concerto in G major is
perhaps the first among the present group to have found favour with performers
in modern times, having appeared in classical record catalogues as early as the
mid-1950s. The A minor Concerto is
altogether a more substantial work, with a strong Vivaldian flavour in the
extended solo violin passage of its concluding movement. Ensemble Meridiana performs both pieces with
sensibility and well-balanced ensemble in the ritornello sections.
Reinhard Goebel and members of Cologne Musica Antiqua put up hot
competition in a recording issued in 2005, but...my preference lies with the more
expressively relaxed playing of Ensemble Meridiana.
The somewhat melancholic Trio in E minor for two ‘dessus' or
upper-voiced instruments is of an entirely different character. Recorder and violin are the protagonists here...Both
work well and would probably have earned approval from instrumentally
polymathic Telemann. The character of
this Trio is predominantly French, passages of which were cited by Quantz in his
Versuch einer Anweisung...)(Essay of a
Method for playing the Tranverse Flute).
While pretty well everything on this disc can be found
elsewhere in the catalogue a Largo
from a Trio in B minor for violin, viola da gamba and continuo is perhaps the
exception; and it is a rewarding one and new to my ears...The disc is
sympathetically recorded and well worth investigation.
Related LinksEnsemble MeridianaTastes of Europe: Telemann Trios & Quartets