TELEMANN Concertos & Cantata Ihr Völker Hört
This attractive mixed programme of Telemann’s works featuring flute or recorder has been designed by Ashley Solomon to celebrate Florilegium’s 25th anniversary. The triple concerto for flute, oboe d’amore and viola d’amore in E major (TWV53:E1) stands out as one of the composer’s most beguiling masterpieces: the limpid opening Andante sounds like a serene evocation of sunrise that anticipates the mature Haydn by several decades; the soloists Solomon, Alexandra Bellamy and Bojan Čičić play with elegant finesse, and also conjure up refined melancholy in an intimately conversational Siciliana.
The double concerto for recorder and viola da gamba in A minor (TWV52:a1) is a charming example of Telemann’s taste for synthesising French and Italian musical styles with elements of Polish folk music; Florilegium’s civilised elegance in the French-style Grave, gently Italianate sway in the Allegro, and Solomon’s duet with gambist Reiko Ichise in the Dolce has pastoral sensitivity. Always played with cultivated refinement, Florilegium provide a thoughtful alternative to the more firmly textured and zestier approach taken by La Stagione Frankfurt (CPO, 2015).
At the heart of the programme is Ihr Völker hört (TWV1:921), a cantata for solo voice and obbligato instrument (played here on the flute by Solomon) that was published in the first instalment of the series Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst (Hamburg, 1725 26). Clare Wilkinson’s softly convivial and articulate singing communicates the cheerful Epiphany text. Solomon takes centre stage in a flute concerto in D major (TWV51:D2), but my ears were drawn equally to the sympathetic continuo-playing of theorbist David Miller and harpsichordist Terence Charlston.
The bigger-scale finale is an F major overture and dance suite (TWV55:F16), dedicated to the Landgrave of Darmstadt and probably written late in Telemann’s long life; in the turbulent Ramellian ‘Tempête’ a pair of horns and bassoon are on thrilling form, so it is a pity that half of the dances could not fit on the disc – but they are available to download.