New Collegium

Georg Philipp Telemann: Chameleon

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AllMusic Review by

It was no less than Bach, Germanic though he may have been, who pointed out that a German composer was expected to master multiple national styles: Italian, French, English, and (this is the one that's been sorely neglected) Polish. It was Telemann who put the idea into practice fully, and what his music lacked in contrapuntal depth, it made up for in sheer variety. He is perhaps not quite the "chameleon" of the title, but he was certainly versatile and liked to combine styles within a single composition. This release by the Dutch historical-instrument group New Collegium (formerly the Collegium Musicum Den Haag) doesn't capture that variety in full; it's mostly the Italian and French styles that are emphasized here, with an occasional feint toward German counterpoint, as in the Alla breve of the Suite from Der getreue Music-Meister. However, the playing is lively and sparkling in the main, and within its stylistic window, the group explores some interesting pieces. Sample around in the Concerto à 3 for 2 violini discordati and violone in A major, TWV Anh. 42:A1. "Discordati" describes the phenomenon generally called scordatura, and the piece is full of unusual sonorities from the violins and accompanying plucked violone, an unusual instrument in itself. Yet, the most unusual feature is the concluding Bourrée, a French dance following on three Italian movements, and Telemann makes this sound natural. Minuets, quite a contemporary dance in Germany at the time, punctuate the program effectively. New Collegium doesn't get good support from Ramée's engineers; the Oude Kerk Zwijndrecht is too coolly remote for this music of Gemütlichkeit. Nevertheless, this is a worthy Telemann release with some unusual music.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
6e Quatuor in E Minor TWV 43:e4 (Nouveaux Quatuors en Six Suites, Paris 1738)
1 04:53
Sonata a Flauto dolce, Violino e Cembalo in A minor TWV 42:a4
2 02:23
3 02:31
4 02:38
5 02:51
Zweytes Sieben mal Sieben und ein Menuet (50), minuets for keyboard, TWV 34:51-100
6 01:11
Sonata a Violino, Violoncello e Basso in G Major TWV 42:G7
7 05:12
8 03:20
9 03:41
10 01:06
Suite from Der getreue Music-Meister
11 01:38
12 01:09
13 02:01
14 04:08
15 01:31
16 01:27
17 02:17
18 01:23
Zweytes Sieben mal Sieben und ein Menuet (50), minuets for keyboard, TWV 34:51-100
19 01:16
Concerto à 3 - 2 Violini Discordati e Violone in A Major TWV Anh.42:A1
20 02:47
21 01:44
22 04:43
23 03:01
Zweytes Sieben mal Sieben und ein Menuet (50), minuets for keyboard, TWV 34:51-100
24 01:15
Quartet in G Minor TWV 43:g4
25 02:12
26 02:07
27 04:24
6e Quatuor in F Minor TWV 43:e4 (Nouveaux Quatuors en Six Suites, Paris 1738)
28 04:50
blue highlight denotes track pick