There are plenty of choices for buyers wanting a single-disc assortment of Telemann's music, but this one gives a better feel for the composer than most of the others. Telemann mit Freude (Telemann with Joy) lives up to its title with lively, warm performances. The disc includes selections for soprano from various Telemann cantatas, interspersed with instrumental works by Telemann arranged for groups of recorders. That might seem like an arbitrary group of choices, but the music illustrates both the domestic Telemann and the extreme Telemann, and the composer's ability to address widely different segments of his market was at the heart of his success. Telemann, we learn in the liner notes, wrote some of his cantatas in such a way that they could be performed by either large or small forces, and thus were suitable for either church use or private worship. We hear the latter versions here, and soprano Monika Mauch does an exceptional job of molding her voice to this context. She keeps the dimensions of her sound modest and sings with very little vibrato, but she is quite alert to the modern, galant, traits of Telemann's style and deploys a whole set of ingratiating vocal moves that would sound bizarre in Bach (and do in the setting of the familiar chorale Jesu, meine Freude included on this disc) but generally come off perfectly here. Check the vocal cadenzas at the end of track 3 or at the end of the entire album for nice examples. The works for recorders (some with continuo) include several virtuoso examples, transcribed from violin concertos; they are filled with rhythmic daring and with technical challenges for recorder player Marion Verbruggen, who executes them with admirably precise intonation. Ensemble Caprice, a group of German musicians based in Canada, gives sharp support throughout, and all in all this is one of the most successful discs to emerge from Montreal's vibrant early music scene.
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