Germany's CPO label has presented the efforts of performers who have doggedly unearthed unknown music of various periods, especially the eighteenth century. With the voluminous corpus of concertos by Telemann, many of which exist only in manuscript, they enter a field with a lot of still-uncharted territory. This set of wind concertos is one of the label's most useful releases despite a few quirks. The music offers a good quick overview of the various influences at work in Telemann's concertos, which began with the seventeenth century concerto structure of a sequence of short elements resembling rhetorical figures but overlaid them with Italian and (especially) French influences. There are hints of Handel, Couperin, Corelli, Bach, and other composers, but there is a lightness and enthusiasm throughout that is entirely Telemann's own. Almost everything Telemann touched he treated with imagination, and the five concertos here are full of delightful touches. Hear the rustic Presto (track 8) that closes the Concerto in E minor for recorder, transverse flute, strings, and continuo, TWV 52:E1, with its unmistakable Polish flavor neatly enclosed in the form of a French suite movement. That concerto is also masterful in its handling of the closely related but distinct sounds of the transverse flute and the recorder, and there's a good deal of elegantly virtuosic recorder writing on display throughout. Recorder soloist Michael Schneider is less flamboyant than others among the crop of recorder stars, but moves confidently through ornamentation that is often built directly into the structures of the music. The early instrument group La Stagione Frankfurt is impressive, especially in the opening Concerto for two horns, strings, and continuo, TWV 52:D2, where the natural horns never overwhelm the small group and are given just the right impact. The sonic ground shifts slightly with the introduction of a new group, the Camerata Köln, for the Concerto da camera in G minor for recorder, two violins, and continuo, TWV 43:g3; although Schneider appears here as recorder soloist as well, it's a little odd to switch ensembles in the middle of the recording. The sound is not especially attractive, with a good deal of background noise, but this remains a good, quick hike through the vast terrain of Telemann's concertos.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Concerto for 2 horns, strings & continuo in D major, TWV 52:D2|
|Concerto for recorder, flute, strings & continuo in E minor, TWV 52:e1|
|Concerto for oboe, strings & continuo in D minor, TWV 51:d1|
|Concerto da Camera, for recorder, strings and continuo in G minor, TWV 43:g3|
|Concerto for flute, strings & continuo in E major, TWV 51:E1|