Telemann Honoured in Style by Florilegium

26/06/2017

Telemann 250th Anniversary Concert:  Florilegium [Marta Goncalves (flute); Bojan Cicic,  Magdalena Loth-Hill (violins); Elitsa Bogdanova (viola); Jennifer Motsches (cello); Reiko Ichise (viola da gamba); Carina Cosgrove (double-bass); Pawel Siwczak (harpsichord/chamber organ)] / Ashley Solomon (flute/director) with Helen Charlston (mezzo-soprano). Wigmore Hall, London, 25.6.2017. (CC)

Telemann – Suite in E minor, Tafelmusik Part I TWV55:e1; Sonata in A, TWV4:A6; Cantata, Ihr Völker hört, TWV:921; Quartet in E minor, TWV43:e4, ‘Paris’; Corellisende Sonata in A, TWV42:a5; Solo Fantasia No.9 in E, TWV40:10; Tafelmusik Part I, TWV50:5, Conclusion in E minor

This concert happily celebrated Telemann’s 250th anniversary on the exact day he died (25 June, 1767). There was a change of soloist: Clare Wilkinson, the original singer, was indisposed and her place was taken by the excellent Helen Charlston. It was rather nice to see that her bio insert begins with a quote from a review on MusicWeb International by John Quinn (a disc of music by Ešenwalds). She was last seen on Seen & Heard International in my review of Handel’s Jephtha at St John’s, Smith Square in May this year.

First, though, we heard the Suite in E minor that starts the first of Tafelmusik’s three “productions” (the Conclusion that closed the concert was from the same production). What struck the listener first was the warmth of Florilegium’s sound, inviting the audience into Telemann’s rather special world. I have long stuck by my guns that Telemann has unfairly languished in the shadows of Bach and Handel, and it was good to hear an evening of his music showing just how consistent and high was his level of invention. The E minor Suite included some imaginative scoring in the gallante Rondeau, just as the ensuing Loure was surprisingly texturally diverse.

The A major Sonata for solo violin and continuo comes from Telemann’s Essercizii Musici collection. Given with plenty of style by Ashley Solomon, it was the aria-like Grave section that really impressed despite the evident virtuosity of the rapid finale (a Vivace). But the clear highlight of the concert was the Epiphany Cantata Ihr Völker hört, which found Helen Charlston on top form, her diction clarion clear, her ability to cope with Telemann’s florid writing never in doubt. In a short speech at the outset of the concert, Ashley Solomon referred to this cantata as Telemann’s “most spectacular.” It is indeed a glorious piece, and was beautifully sung. The idea of light, specifically from the star that guided the Wise Men to Christ (the star itself a symbol of Christ), is an important part of the text’s symbolism; the Cantata comprises two arias separated by a recitative. Charlston was just as attentive to the central recitative as she was to the surrounding arias, shading it beautifully. Telemann’s melodic invention in the arias seems unending, and this sense of the sheer joy in music itself extended to the performers in the present performance. Superb music, superbly performed.

The second half began with a Quartet for flute, violin, viola da gamba (the superb Reiko Ichise) and harpsichord. This E minor quartet is the final offering from Telemann’s “New Paris Quartets”; even the movement titles are in French. The virtuoso violin part was on occasion matched by Ichise’s contributions. The compositional mastery here reaches Bachian proportions.  The “Corellisirende” Sonata, one of six, is an homage to Corelli, finding a purity of writing that invites in beautiful dialogue from the two violins (Solomon and Loth-Hill, on this occasion). The bright finale is an absolute joy.

For the Flute Sonata, Solomon gave us a real rarity: he played it on the porcelain flute (with engravings in gold!) by Meissen which actually belonged to King George III. It is, we were told, heavy to play and is only one of two in existence (the other is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York). Vibrant and warm in tone, the dynamic range of the flute is far less than a modern instrument but it is intrinsically hyper-beautiful. It is demeaning to suggest it sounds a little like a panpipe, but not half as demeaning as the mobile phone buzzer that went off during the performance. Solomon’s affection for both flute and Sonata was palpably clear, though.

Finally, we heard the “Conclusion” in E minor, a magnificent piece of writing. The opening Allegro opens out beautifully, into wonderfully florid writing. There was an encore: an apt choice, albeit not Telemann, a movement from the aptly named “Florilegium” Suite No.2 in G minor by Georg Moffat. But it was Telemann who was honoured this evening; and honoured he was, in style. Maybe his time is coming?

Colin Clarke

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! This Year’s International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival at Buxton and Harrogate __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Usher Hall 2019-2020 Orchestral Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Roman River 2019 Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! Bregenz Festival 17 July – 18 August 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Musikfest Berlin 2019 from 30 August to 19 September __________________________________
  • NEW! 2019 BBC Proms 19 July – 14 September __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2019-2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB in 2019-2020 and Updates on their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Memories of West End Musical Delights __________________________________
  • NEW! CELLIST JOHANNES MOSER IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! CHORUS MASTER STEPHEN DOUGHTY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • REVIEWED! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • NEW! MULTI-FACETED MUSICIAN JOY LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet Announces Winners of Emerging Dancer 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR ÁDÁM FISCHER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH LISETTE OROPESA AS SHE RETURNS TO LA OPERA FOR ORFEO ED EURIDICE __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH ANDREA CARÈ AS HE RETURNS TO COVENT GARDEN AS DON JOSÉ __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month