Jean-François & Pierre-Yves Madeuf, La Petite Bande, Sigiswald Kuijken
TWV 44: D1+, 51: D1, D7, D8, 55: D7
Another recording of Telemann’s trumpet concertos? I hear you cry. Well yes, but not as we know them, Jim! There are two aspects of the current disc that set it apart from anything you are likely to have heard before. In the first place, the brass instruments are played “au naturel”, i. e., without any finger holes or hand stopping; secondly, rather than being soloist versus orchestra, these are – as the composer undoubtedly expected – played as chamber music with one instrumentalist per part. This of itself would be reason enough to acquire this disc, but there is the obvious additional attraction of getting HIP guru Sigiswald Kuijken’s way-too-infrequent interpretations of Telemann’s fabulous music and in this, as in every other respect, this listener was not disappointed. For all their typical associations with royalty and the military, the five pieces on the disc dispel once and for all the notion that you cannot build a thoroughly enjoyable recital in a single key. The wide range of sounds and textures in Telemann’s music, and these performances of it (which include two bonus tracks without the trumpet!) continually delight the ear in ever-changing ways, and although the boisterous faster movements with their often fruity brass tuning resounded triumphantly in whichever machine I happened to be listening to them in at the time, I actually derived a lot of pleasure from the quieter oases, where Kuijken & Co. took time to relish equally the composer’s richer harmonic writing or his delight in much simpler fare. This is one for early brass fans, Telemanniacs and HIPsters alike.