A tribute to Telemann

La Spagna, Alejandro Marías
Lukos Records 5451CRE80843
TWV51: A5; 52: a1, G1; 55: D6, G10

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]ntering into the ever-expanding ranks of recordings of these quite familiar, yet discerningly witty and descriptive pieces, we have La Spagna’s offerings under a strawberry and vanilla cover now joining the 15+ of TWV55:D6, and approaching 30(!) of the “Burlesque de Quixotte” suite in G major TWV55:G10. The once unfamiliar concerto for gamba and strings, TWV51:A5, has at least four known recordings. Note that the concerto for recorder, gamba and strings is wrongly identified, and should be TWV52:a1! It is widely accepted that Telemann’s concertante gamba works were conceived with the Darmstadt virtuoso Ernst Christian Hesse in mind; he studied under Marais and Forqueray in Paris.The musicians of the Darmstadt court orchestra worked closely with Telemann during his Frankfurt period (1712-1721), especially during large public performances. In the D major gamba suite here, we encounter within the French framework many keen nods towards the Italianate concerto style; it is a hybrid with added idiomatic effects e.g. La Trompette, one of several brass simulation effects found in TWV55… Another example is the 3rd movement from TWV55:B4, Les cornes de Visbade. With the present director being a gamba and cello player, the choice of repertoire is hardly surprising; yet one feels a wider selection could have made for a better tribute during the anniversary year; perhaps a couple of the wonderful violin and gamba sonatas from TWV42 which are played so well online by this very ensemble!

This all said, the director and the musicians give a balanced, unforced account of these familiar works.

David Bellinger

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