Carin van Heerden

Telemann: 3 Orchestral Suites

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The cover of this German release contains little information to distinguish it from other recordings of Telemann's hundreds of orchestral suites or overtures, wherein he massaged the basic model of a sequence of French dances in many different ways. But the program offers two distinctive works, flanking a relatively conventional Overture in F major for two oboes, strings, and continuo, TWV 55:F14, in the middle. The buyer looking at the back cover of the disc or at an online track list may wonder about the nature of the "flute pastorelle" specified in the instrumentation of the first Overture in E flat major, TWV 55:Es2. The booklet, which is not exactly a model of clarity although it does go down some fascinating byways relating to Telemann's writings, basically informs the reader that no one knows for sure what was meant by this comparatively rare marking. Reasoning partly from musical evidence -- the instrument works well in music in flat keys, which includes most of the pieces where the indication occurs -- South African--German recorder player Carin van Heerden concludes that it was a so-called fourth flute, a recorder pitched a perfect fourth above an alto recorder. Whatever the instrument was, Telemann's "pastoral" writing in this suite is a veritable tour through a bird sanctuary, with delightful effects throughout for the solo instrument. The final Overture in A minor for recorder, strings, and continuo, TWV 55:a2, is a more abstract piece of virtuosity that likewise testifies to Telemann's mastery of what would now be called orchestration (a theme also stressed in the booklet). Van Heerden, who also leads the Orfeo Baroque Orchestra, is another of the young breed of recorder virtuosi emerging from the Netherlands and Germany; if she does not quite have the steely pitch precision of some of her contemporaries, she has put together an entertaining Telemann program marred only by muddy church sound

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