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Reviews: Telemann: Tafelmusik - Florilegium

Reviews: 2

Site review by Geohominid April 21, 2010
Performance:   Sonics:    
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

http://www.HRAudio.net/showmusic.php?title=116#reviews

Review by beardawgs November 29, 2011 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Over the years Iíve been going hot and cold over Telemannís music. Obviously, Iím in a hot phase right now, since I almost got rid of this utterly charming disc. Now, that would have been a big mistake. Itís a well-known fact that Telemann was the most celebrated (and prolific) composer of his day and he was the first choice for the coveted job of St Thomasí Church cantor in Leipzig, that eventually ended up in J.S. Bachís lap (who was only the third choice!). How would the music history turn out differently if only Telemann was available to accept the prestigious post?

Today we consider Bach the greatest composer that ever lived with countless recordings to his name, while Telemann is a bit of a neglected master craftsman. And there lies the reason for my personal inability to properly warm up to his music Ė as fine as it is and perfectly crafted, I find his music much less appealing, mainly due to lack of harmonic variety, which is such an important feature in Bachís works. But Telemann partly compensates harmonic monotony with interesting textural and instrumental variety, and this recording by Florilegium achieves to illustrate just that. And most of all, they play with élan and excitement that is really necessary in order to lift those charming pieces off the page and into life.

French gallant style was the word of the day for this type of chamber music, intended for noble and talented music consumers all over central Europe. No surprise that Telemann had majority subscribers for his Tafelmusik from France. As the title might wrongly suggest, Table Music wasnít intended to be played as background to a meal, thought it might have been used for that and all sorts of other social events. This is music intended for domestic use, family groups or amateur concert societies. Pick and choose approach from this vast collection is perfectly justified, and Florilegiumís selection concentrates on music for flutes and recorders Ė indeed, in this selection are some of the very few period pieces featuring both instruments (until flutes finally ousted recorders into historic oblivion at the beginning of the 19th century). Level of musicianship is as high as ever with this period music band, their technique effortless and playful, their performance so engaging that you would never think of putting this disc on as a musical background for the dinner party! It is this colourful performance that would be the main reason for me to return to this disc over and over again.

The recording is tightly focused, allowing every detail and nuance of playing to be heard and itís crisp and clear with plenty of detail. I personally prefer a bit more bloom and space around the instruments (and a bit more distant perspective), but this is after all chamber music, and this recording places the players right next to you in your room.

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