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GRAMOPHONE (11/2015)
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DHM 88875061582

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Reviewer:  Lindsay Kemp


I’ll admit straightaway that it’s a relief not to see the words ‘Vol 1’ anywhere on this release. Not that there is anything wrong with Telemann’s violin sonatas, you understand, which are as personable and as expertly written as you would expect them to be, but it is nice to see artists offering up a selection they believe in and leaving it at that. That the disc contains four world premiere recordings thus seems more a bonus than a duty.


Telemann’s violin sonatas are in the Corellian mould – four movements, slow-fast-slow-fast – and their flavour is strongly Italianate as well; nothing here in the French style which he was equally capable of adopting, nor any of those outbursts of Polish folk-exuberance that can be so irresistible. Virtuosity is not a feature either; but Boris Begelman unlocks the vibrancy of music that on paper might look a little plain, achieving the feat partly through generous and stylish ornamentation and partly through a level of imagination and engagement that is consistently high and avoids any feeling of the routine – the essence of good Baroque music-making, really. Contrasts are strong, both of tempo between movements and of dynamics and articulation within, and there are interesting characterisations too, such as the whirring ‘gypsy’ double-stops added to the finale of the G major Sonata, or stealthy piano ending to the G minor. He is ably supported by his colleagues in Arsenale Sonoro, who, true to their name, fire off some tautly robust continuo playing, with Ludovico Minasi’s muscly but shapely cello (nimbly pizzicato in the bouncing Gigue finale of the A major) being a major contribution. All of which makes this a thoroughly worthwhile addition to the ever-growing Telemann discography.

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