Telemann: Sonatas, Trios & Concerti / L’Accademia Giocosa


Oehms Classics has released this collection of six sonatas, trios and concerti by Telemann, all but one appearing as a world premiere recording. Playing on period instruments, L'Accademia Giocosa ('playful') is made up of members of the Bavarian Radio Symphony, together with leading early music specialists. They are a band of formidable technical and musical accomplishment. The album consists of a half dozen works for diverse combinations of anywhere from four to ten performers, playing oboes, flute, bassoon and strings with basso continuo.

Raised in a family environment that fully discouraged a career in music of any description, Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) nevertheless became one of the most prolific composers in history. By the time he was twelve years of age, he was master of many instruments and had composed his first opera. Taking inspiration from some of the leading composers on the continent - Steffani, Rosenmüller, Corelli and Caldara - and living as he did in the economic centers of the day, he developed a cosmopolitan style, one which integrated Italian, French and German influences. This in part is what lends Telemann's music its endless diversity, in addition to his boundless inventiveness and bent for experimentation.

There is so much here that is an absolute joy to hear that it was difficult to decide on sample tracks. In the end, I wanted to provide a slow and a brisk selection, settling on the first and final movements of the opening work, Concert François for 2 oboes, 2 violins, 2 violas, bassoon and basso continuo. The playing by L'Accademia Giocosa is superb. Certainly, if Telemann has not made it onto your shortlist of the greatest Baroque composers, this collection offers ample proof for you to consider. Listening through, the program comes together like an assortment of luscious chocolates, every movement standing as an original and delectable confection. You'll have your favorites - perhaps the pecan crunch or the cherry cordial - but who wouldn't enjoy a chocolate truffle, too?

Telemann: Twelve Fantasias for Violin Solo TWV 40:14-25; performed by Arthur Grumiaux