Dresden Treasures – Anonymous: Six Concertos

Les Amis de Philippe, Ludger Rémy
cpo 777 780-2

As the exploration of the contents of the so-called Schranck II collection at the Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden continues, the focus shifts to the wealth of anonymous material there. A convolute labelled Mus. 2-Q-21 contains a trio sonata attributed to Telemann and a “set” of seven quartets for flute, violin, bass and continuo. Their uniformity suggests that they were all written by the same composer, and some have suggested that the only likely candidate to have produced such a set is Telemann. In his booklet note, Rémy insists that the identity of the composer is not as important as its quality, but there is no explanation why the fourth of the set is not included; since Radio Bremen is credited as a production partner, perhaps the programme was tailored to fit a particular slot in their broadcasting schedule, but surely time could have been found to record the missing work. I have similar reservations about the choice to record the seventh piece in an arrangement (albeit “after Dresden models”) by Rémy for two harpsichords (in which he is partnered by Ketil Haugsand); I would far rather have a separate disc of such duets from the same collection. The cello is only sometimes independent of the bass (I’m not sure quite why two are played on viola da spalla and three on violoncello, and I’m not entirely convinced that a violone is required in addition to the other two…) Whether it is by Telemann or not, the music is enjoyable and I hope someone will produce editions of it so others can explore it.

Brian Clark