Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Georg Philipp Telemann, Collegium Musicum 90, Anthony Halstead|
Telemann: Concerto in D for 3 Horns & Violin; La Bouffonne; Grillen-Symphonie; Alster Ouverture /Collegium Musicum 90 * Standage
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
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Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 10/14/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Within the "Early Music" movement - the "Historically Informed Performance" movement, if you prefer - the burden of proof has always fallen on the players of original instruments to demonstrate musicality equal to or better than what one hears from modern instruments. That was certainly more true in 1993, when this CD was produced, than it is today, when standards have risen. Unfortunately, the first composition on this recording -- Telemann's Concerto in D major -- doesn't make much of a case for original instrumentation; the ensemble seems inchoate and jerky in ensemble, and the three horns simply fail to sound very musical at all.
If all four pieces on the CD had been as ineffectual as the first - either as performance or as composition - I would have tossed it in the rear of the 'forget-about-it" cabinet. But, wonder of wonders, the same horns perform splendidly, and the whole ensemble triumphs, on the longer and more interesting "Alster Ouverture". In fact, this 28-minute musical spectacle is well worth the price of the CD; it's a far more idiomatic and coherent performance than the recording of the same score on modern instruments on the CD "Four Horns" that I reviewed recently. Likewise, the "Grillen-Symphonie" and the "La Bouffonne Suite" are craftily played and entertaining. And this music, make no mistake, is Entertainment pure and simple; if you're not smiling, the interpretation isn't working. So... one star off for the clunker first track, five-plus for the rest.
The Grillen-Symphonie (Cricket Symphony) is a clever showpiece, evidence of Telemann's musical daring. Just for fun, listen to it as if it were a late 20th C work, in which the 'inelegant' sounds, shocking chords, and frenzied rhythms were to be taken entirely seriously. I think you'll realize just how "out there" Telemann could be, and how accepting his audience must have been of his experimentalism. The Alster Ouverture --probably a later composition, with explicit references to Hamburger landmarks -- is an amazingly witty blend of the most highly polished French compositional manner with bizaare musical humor. It's a 30-minute suite of nine movements, beginning with an elegant contrapuntal ouverture and concluding with two movements of graceful pastoral tranquillity. Between, however, we get to hear: cannon fire, a spunky echo, the Hamburg Glockenspiel, a ludicrously inept village band breaking every rule of baroque theory, and a chorus of concertizing crows and frogs. Goofy music just HAS to be played with the most perfected technique, in order not to be merely corny, and the Collegium Musicum 90 accomplished that feat on this recording date. If you can tolerate ignoring or skipping ten minutes of mediocre playing, out of seventy minutes, then this is a delightful concert of Telemann's uniquely high-spirited musical entertainment."