The discovery of Telemann’s long-lost fantasias for viola da gamba is one of the great musicological events of recent times. But this music brings joy not just to scholars and players: it is also most attractive for those of us who ‘only’ listen. As always, Telemann writes with idiomatic flair for the instrument, making use of chords and changes of register to enrich what is, inevitably and for the most part, single-line music. And in Robert Smith he has an eloquent advocate – even in tone, sure in the judgment of pace and space, and technically adroit in music that is not without technical challenges, even if was written for the amateur market of the day. The recording venue (a small church) gives the sound just the right amount of bloom and the player’s note (in English only) neatly summarise both the music’s content and context. A release both welcome and exciting.
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