Iona Brown / Arthur Grumiaux

Telemann: Twelve Fantasias for Violin Solo; Five Violin Concertos

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This two-disc set of violin works by Georg Philipp Telemann features two first-class soloists. On the first disc, Belgian violinist Arthur Grumiaux takes on Telemann's excruciatingly difficult Twelve Fantasies for solo violin and wins. While one thinks he can't possibly play these tremendously challenging works with his accustomed perfection, Grumiaux nails every note. And while one thinks he can't possibly hold our attention through more than an hour's worth of solo violin works, Grumiaux grabs it and never lets go. On the second disc, English violinist Iona Brown with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields tackles five of Telemann's violin concertos (one that has since been determined not to be by Telemann). Although Brown isn't the super virtuoso that Grumiaux is -- the fire and charisma of the great Belgian are missing -- she is still a superlative player and her performances have a charm, a lightness, and a grace. Taken together, this two-disc set is a fine introduction to Telemann's violin music and an outstanding addition to any Telemann collection. Recorded in stereo in 1970 (Grumiaux) and in digital in 1983 (Brown), both recordings can boast of Philips' exemplary and clear yet always present sound.

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