If you're one of those who feel Telemann has gotten a bad rap, your day has come. Here's a disc that will make even diehard skeptics take another listen to this Baroque master. Reinhard Goebel and the Musica Antiqua Köln perform a program of Telemann's chamber music for strings, including a pair of symphonies (which didn't mean nearly the same thing to Telemann as it did to Mozart or Beethoven), a suite, and a series of concertos (which also meant something else to him).
This album is full of surprises, not all of them associated with its musical contents. Advance PR materials stated that its contents were recorded originally for televised broadcast in 2004, then forgotten, and only just rediscovered. A final recording by the celebrated Musica Antiqua Köln, forgotten by its The music is a bit of a surprise as well, if not the result of an “original genius” that Goebel likens to C. P. E. Bach. Johann Friedrich Meister (1638–97) seems by all accounts to have been something of a rebel, getting himself imprisoned the year after his appointment as music director of the Hofkapelle of Duke Ferdinand Albrecht I of Brunswick-Lüneburg.
Very little is known about Charpentier's life (1643-1704). The main source of information is an obscure rival composer named de Brossard. According to de Brossard, Charpentier was originally from Paris but studied music in Rome under the composer Carissimi. In 1696 he beat out de Brossard for the post of choirmaster at the Sainte Chapelle Cathedral in Paris, where he remained until his death in 1704. As Goebels writes in the album liner notes, there are several reasons for Charpentier's neglect as a composer.
Having all of these works collected together is a real treasure. It is one of the most beautiful collections I've heard. 5 cd's of all of Bach's chamber music, exquisitely performed by the outstanding soloists of Musica Antiqua Koln. Reinhard Goebel's performance of the violin works is simply perfect. As I've said before, Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord have been in the shadows for too long, they deserve to be heard and this performance proves it. They are a delightful partnership between violin and harpsichord. The tempos are fairly brisk but the performance is so clearly articulated that the result is energetic and very rewarding.
If you like your Baroque music loud and luscious, then this is the disc for you. When you play it first, be aware that the two introductory pieces are not as loud as the later ones, so set your volume low to start off with!
McCreesh, Goebel and their crew have recreated the full pomp and atmosphere of the time (as far as we can tell). The recording is well-defined and, perhaps surprisingly, for a work of this scale, it does not deteriorate into a miasmic wash of sound. The directionality is very good, even on "ordinary" two-channel stereo.
"…some of the most important Baroque rediscoveries of recent years … [an] essential recording…" ~BBC MusicMag