Ensemble Meridiana - Tastes of Europe -ClassicsToday.com


The world could always use more Telemann, whose cantatas and chamber music particularly stand among the finest Baroque works in these genres, and here is a fine collection of five trios and two quartets (concertos)--lively, energetic, nimble, clearly articulated, the warm, vibrant, complementary timbres of the period strings, winds, and harpsichord ideally captured in a fairly close-up church acoustic.

Despite the varied combinations of instruments there's a sameness to the overall sound-characteristics of each work--but this is not a negative since Telemann's stylistic instincts and melodic/thematic mastery are always assured and appropriate to the chosen instruments. It's just that this means that the program is perfect as a complement to other activities rather than to close, careful, analytical listening. Which is a good thing, because if you listen too closely you will notice the recorder, which appears on more than half the works here, displaying its most insolent, defiant, rebellious behavior as an oppositional member of the refined, tuneful society of musical instruments.

If you have a finely tuned ear you will notice many instances of flat pitch by Dominique Tinguely's otherwise exceptionally well played recorder (regarding the recorder--or, for that matter, the lute--the fault is always the instrument, never the player), and yes, the recorder is a tough challenge. Few players manage to get through an entire piece without some intonational glitch, and here, due to Telemann's unrelenting virtuoso recorder writing, there's no refuge for the player. Tinguely is cool and confident, but for the serious listener there's no assuaging of guilt--the recorder is not consistently true to its written pitch.


Recorder issues aside, I enjoyed this recording and this is based primarily on the cohesiveness of the ensemble, the vibrant energy in the playing, and Linn's strikingly up-close, almost touch-the-instruments presence. As I said, the world always can use more Telemann...

01 August 2011