Telemann: Ouverture & Concerti pour Darmstadt

Les Ambassadeurs, Alexis Kossenko flute, Zefira Valova violin
70:23
Alpha 200
TWV 51: D1, D2, a1, 52: e3, 55: F3

As the title suggests, this excellent disc has an orchestral suite (strings with pairs of horns and oboes plus bassoon) and four concertos, two for flute, one for violin and one for both. Regular readers will know that I am a fan of Telemann’s music, so it will come as no surprise that, when it’s as well played as it is here, I have no hesitation in recommending Les Ambassadeurs. The dance movements of the suite will have the most reticent of toes tapping, and each of the concerti – think elegant Albinoni or Marcello rather than virtuosic display à la Vivaldi and you’ll have the right idea – is finely crafted by composer and performers alike; I was particularly impressed by the opening of the A minor violin concerto – the throbbing upper string chords leading into Valova’s first entry are captivating, and her colourful interpretation of that sinuous solo line (a masterclass in the use of vibrato as an ornament, and right hand control) meant listening to that track over and over again. That astonishing control is key to Les Ambassadeurs’ approach, and I hope they will go on to explore more German repertoire.

Brian Clark