Telemann: Trios & Quartets with transverse flute and viola da gamba

TWV42: c6, F5, g7, g15, a7, h4 & 43: C2, h3

It can surely be no coincidence that the vast majority of Telemann’s music for this combination survives in Darmstadt – there must have been players there who inspired the composer; further, there must be a reason why the most of them are in minor keys (five out of six!) The two quartets (both called concerto in the sources) add a bassoon to the mix. The booklet notes (a convoluted affair whose absolutely pitiful English translation is a hard going) suggest that the plaintive sounds of the gamba (here often coloured with the style of vibrato I associate with the French school) blend effortlessly with those of the flute, and on the evidence of this rather glorious recording I would have to agree. The continuo section includes theorbo, cello, violone and harpsichord and manages to create a rich backdrop for the “soloists” without ever sounding fussy or intrusive. In fact, this is among the nicest recital of this repertoire I have heard – and it claims (albeit with an “as far as we know” caveat) a world premiere of TWV42: F5.

Brian Clark