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Fanfare Magazine: 23:5 (05-06/2000)
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Harmonia Mundi

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Reviewer: Tom Moore

This is a first-class addition to your Telemann shelf, including two suites that are new to disc. The suite "La Musette" is, tragically, one of only two that survive from a set of six published by Telemann in the 1730s, having been published in a modern edition before the original was destroyed. This is Telemann from his most characteristic and productive period, with the dances representing various nationalities (Naples, Poland) including one titled enigmatically "Murky" (seemingly Slavic—any suggestions?), and the melodies concise, cantabile, memorable. The Suite "La Chasse" is scored for pairs of oboes and horns with bassoon, whence the title.

The "tragicomic" suite has appeared on disc at least once before, but can it have received as fine a performance? Here Telemann, a seemingly inexhaustible fount of witty programs for music, follows the overture with three pairs of dances—an illness, then a remedy. First comes gout (most melancholy whining in a minor key), then a ride in stagecoach. Next is the hypochondriac—a depressive (depicted by a sarabande) who resists any attempt to cheer him up (gigue, bourrée, hornpipe interrupting the sarabande). He is taken out for a proper march about the countryside with trumpets and drums. Finally the fop, to the whorehouse (Presto furioso).

The playing here is wonderful, with nimble, incisive work from the strings, and the realization of the images is effective and clear without going over the top. Highly recommended.

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