Various Artists

Naturally Telemann

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The title of the series labeled Naturally on Quebec's ATMA classique label refers to the eco-friendly packaging of the discs rather than to any specifcally musical content. (And by the way, is it more eco-friendly to run a computer and charge an iPod for a few hours or to buy and play a CD?) The content seems to have been chosen for light, on-the-go listening, with selections drawn from earlier releases on the label, which specializes in historically informed performances of eighteenth century music. Telemann was a composer who specialized in this kind of music, full of novel instrumental combinations, pleasant tunes, and effects ear catching enough to cut through the clutter of a modern commute as easily as they did the conversation level of an eighteenth century drawing room. Hear the wild flute cascades at the conclusion of the first movement of the Concerto a 6 for transverse flute (or "traverse flute," as the package has it), violin, strings, and continuo, or the harmonic progressions of the succeeding Adagio. The small three-movement cantata and the two-recorder pedagogical sonata tacked onto the end give easily digestible introductions to other aspects of Telemann's vast output, despite a few sonic fluffs in the sonata. ATMA's recordings have reached an impressive level of consistency, and if it takes green packaging to introduce them to a wider public, so be it.

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