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GRAMOPHONE (02/2022)
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Harmonia Mundi

Code barres / Barcode : 3149020943755



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Reviewer: Mark Seow

Some nice moments almost tie together the performance of the Ouverture burlesque on this all-Telemann album. The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin provide us with a buoyant ‘Scaramouche’, sweeping lines in ‘Colombine’ and a subtly fragranced ‘Ouverture’. I’m nonetheless left feeling underwhelmed. The solo violin-playing in the Minuet could be far sweeter, pizzicato could be chirpier; indeed, there’s so little vitality in the sound that the interpretation of this movement doesn’t feel like much of an interpretation but rather a first playthrough. The fifth movement too, ‘Pierrot’, even with its sul ponticello effects, is a rather run-of-the-mill job.

Thankfully, things pick up. After the scurrying, fiddly Ouverture burlesque, Telemann’s Viola Concerto opens with the warm embrace of an Italian grandmother. Antoine Tamestit’s sound is delightful: rich, rhetorical and abundantly shaded in mirth. Where Tamestit really comes into his own, however, is in the final Presto. His virtuosity is so casually but carefully worn. Semiquavers are scattered about with such utter stylishness; I can’t remember being so happy at a tempo choice.

We have to wait a bit longer for some equally excellent playing, but my goodness, it’s worth it: the second movement of the Fantasia in C (originally in G), TWV40:15, sparkles with intelligence. Tamestit’s playing is full of breath and his imagination meanders – enjoyably so – with judicious articulation and hierarchy. The tutti re-entrance for the Ouverture-Suite La Changeante is particularly effective after this intimate episode. A surprising delight of the album, however, is the Double Viola Concerto in G. Tamestit is joined by Sabine Fehlandt, a pairing that moves between tussling teenagers and birds in love. The Largo – tantalisingly short – is a slice of heaven, and the embroidery at its close isn’t merely the sound of silken reciprocity: that’s the earth pausing from its spin, just for a moment.

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