Telemann Essercizii Musici
The title of this entertaining disc is misleading, since only three of its nine items belong to Telemann’s chamber music anthology,
The solo recorder player, Sebastien Marq, is a dextrous, refreshingly ungimmicky player. Sometimes I longed for a little more in the way of imaginative interpretation but his playing is warmly sympathetic to the music and his phrasing eloquent and communicative. It is, in short, old-fashioned playing which recalls the school of Ferdinand Conrad et al; but I hasten to add, it is none the worse for that. Marq is exceptionally well supported by his fellow instrumentalists and it is this, above all, which makes the programme such rewarding listening. The oboist, Alfred Bernardini, violinist Francois Fernandez, viola da gambist and harpsichordist Jerome and Pierre Hantai, respectively, are among those who make excellent contributions. The continuo line-up, too, is responsive though the recording acoustic does not serve the double-bass as faithfully as it should.
The choice of pieces is discerning. There are no disappointments to be found among the solos and trios which Telemann included in his Essercizii Musici. The three pieces included here perhaps take pride of place in the programme, though the two somewhat melancholic Trio Sonatas in A minor are hardly their inferior. Most unusual is a chamber concerto in F major (TWV42:F14) for the unlikely partnership of recorder and horn. It is pieces such as this which reveal Telemann’s fascination with instrumental colour, his penchant for experimentation but, above all, his deeply informed knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the instruments themselves. The interpretative know-how of these players is reason enough to become acquainted with the disc but the sheer variety and sustained invention of the composer is what will lead me to it over and over again.'