Les Esprits Animaux
Musica Ficta MF8029
It is straight away obvious when an ensemble has taken due care and attention over what they choose to present on their recording. Here Javier Lupiáñez and Les Esprits Animaux are to be commended for their smart choices. Straddled by two fairly familiar works, opening with “Concerto alla polonese” (TWV43:G7) tackled with just enough rustic flair, and ending with the beautiful D-minor work (TWV43:d2) here in the earlier string version, composed circa 1711-15 (aka one of the 4th Book of Quartets, Leclerc Paris 1752) we find two of those “deest” works, that is to say, absent, not to be found in any known catalogue listings; the first of these in D major, seems to my ear to contain more departures from Telemann’s usual musical “modii” than commonalities, but the second (in B flat major) seems to passingly quote from one of the cantatas from the Harmonischer Gottesdienst (TVWV1:447) in the 2nd movement “Adagio”. Interspersed we have two fine premieres: TWV43:G8, which brings us back to some familiar fleetness , and dynamic expression; the 3rd movement “Grave” has a kind of vocalised effect, not overdone by the ensemble’s leader Javier Lupiáñez with his embellishments. Finally, mention goes to the quite excellent TWV42:D10, a marvellous five-movement work, which has a typical mellifluence and design we recognize in other Telemann pieces; even the blending of stylistic elements from Italy and France strike the ear, with movements running from Menuet to Balletto, in this accomplished hybrid, all wonderfully captured by this vivacious and alert ensemble. We feel back on firm, idiomatic ground. This is a most worthy exposition, and we can only hope for more insightful, well-researched explorations to appear in the future. On page 10 of their fine CD Booklet, a neat explanation of the ensemble’s name is provided, coming from a philosophical term used in the Baroque period; we live and learn!