Ensemble Meridiana - Tastes of Europe -

6 works from Telemann and a work previously attributed to Telemann adds up to a glorious of Baroque music making in these hands.

This is the début recording of Ensemble Meridiana and a very fine début it is too - one can see why they have been celebrated seemingly wherever they go! The music is some of Telemann's finest and, even with the instrumentation remaining constant, the different approaches from Telemann in his writing for the concertos and the Trio Sonatas is markedly different; rightly the members of Ensemble Meridiana approach the music with a range of styles that reflects the compositions moods and whether the virtuoso nature is explicit or hidden.

Throughout the playing is alive to the varying sensitivities of the music but one moment that stands out in particular is the canonic opening of the Trio 3 in G minor as Stoffer & Humphrys intertwine with ravishing sensuous quite unlike much for the period - the rest of the sonata & indeed the rest of the programme is scarcely imaginatively performed. Other moments that deserve special mention are the concluding Vivace from the Concerto in A minor - astonishing virtuoso playing from all concerned; and the Trio in B minor in which the viola da gamba (Eketorp) gets a shot at the limelight. The final work from Prowo is quite obviously not Telemann (with the benefit of modern ears accustomed to Telemann's style) but is nevertheless highly appealing and makes for a wonderful "encore".

The sound, captured in St Margaret's Church (Nation Centre for Early Music, York) is wonderful - complimenting the playing exactly. Each instrument has presence but is part of a convincing whole that places one in prime seats of the venue. Positioning is always crystal clear and the timbres are beautifully rendered by both playing and recording artists alike.

Extremely highly recommended.

23 June 2012