In terms of their reputations, it is the misfortune of both Albinoni and Telemann that they shared their time and space with Vivaldi and Bach - respectively, the nonpareils of Venetian Baroque and Baroque everywhere else. Nonetheless, these oboe concerti of Albinoni testify to the considerable talents of the Red Priest's contemporaries. Three of the four concerti that begin CD1 (those in d, C and g) are probably the equals of anything that Vivaldi wrote for this instrument. They show the 51 year old composer (former dilettante now turned professional) at the height of his powers. Telemann's works on these discs, meanwhile - and especially the wonderful Sonata in g from 'Tafelmusik III' - show him at his most inspired…By Jon Chambers (Birmingham, England)
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), He cast his concertos - almost a hundred are known to exist - in the traditional form of the four-movement suite (slow-fast-slow-fast), but also used the three-movement form established by Vivaldi. Although the slow movements disclose a greater degree of originality, the fast ones are more effective. In some of Telemann's concertos, the character of the themes and the structure of the movements point beyond the Baroque style to the early Classical period (e.g. the last movement of the Concerto for Oboe d'amore). The distinctive harmonies of some of the parts also underscore Telemann's opinion that, although the possibilities of melodic invention may become exhausted, it is always possible to vary the harmony.
This CD presents four concertos of greatly varying character from Telemann's instrumental output, which is so vast that it still can hardly be contemplated in its entirety. The abundance of forms and structures concealed under the collective title "Concertos" in these works is no mere manifestation of inexactitude in contemporary terminology, but far rather an example of Telemann's wealth of ideas which cannot be forced into any set pattern of categories, styles and forms. All the fullness and restlessness of its age are captured here - the age of transition from the baroque to the early classical, in the prolific output of a great personality embracing and assimilating all the trends of that age.
This very attractive release from Channel Classics features the terrific British period instrument ensemble Florilegium in performances of three Vivaldi concertos and two sacred vocal works. The group plays without a conductor and the players' shapely unanimity of phrasing and nuanced expressiveness give the performances the character of chamber music. It sidesteps the metric squareness that can plague performances of Vivaldi and let the music breathe and surge organically. The strings have the slight tartness of Baroque instruments and the overall sound of the orchestra has an appealing burnished sheen. This is relatively obscure repertoire and includes a flute concerto that was only discovered in 2010 and is recorded here for the first time, played beautifully by Ashley Solomon, the artistic director of Florilegium.
Alexis Kossenko returns to centre stage with a project focussing on works by Georg Philipp Telemann, one of the most prolific composers in the history of music, with more than 6,000 works to his name! From them, Alexis Kossenko has chosen two concertos with orchestra: one for flute, the other for flute and violin, preceded by an overture. This programme is perfectly composed to demonstrate what a great Baroque conductor he has become as well as, of course, showcasing his impressive qualities as a flautist. It is also the occasion to again find Zefira Valova as Konzertmeister and soloist in one of the concertos.
Chopin's two piano concertos have long been admired more as pianistic vehicles than as integrated works for piano and orchestra. But in his revelatory new recording, Krystian Zimerman suggests otherwise: The opening orchestral tuttis have so much more light, shade, orchestral color, and detail, you wonder if they've been rewritten. Every gesture, every instrumental solo is so specifically characterized that by the time the piano makes a dramatic entrance, the pieces have become operas without words.
The old model for creating a hit classical recording – big-name soloist plus big-name conductor in major repertory work – is not so common anymore, but this live Brahms recording from the Staatskapelle Berlin under Venezuela's Gustavo Dudamel, with Argentine-Israeli-Palestinian-Spanish pianist Daniel Barenboim as soloist, shows that there's life in the concept yet. One could point to the virtues of pianist and conductor separately: it's a rare septuagenarian who can combine power and clear articulation of detail the way Barenboim does, and Dudamel builds a vast sweep in, especially, the Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15. But it's the way that the two work together that really makes news. Chalk it up to shared South American heritage or to whatever the listener wants, but the way the orchestra and piano define separate spheres and work them together is extraordinary. Again, it is in the Piano Concerto No. 1 and its Beethovenian drama that their mutual understanding is most evident, but there is a sense of great variety powerfully unified throughout.