Monday 23 October 2017

Telemann - Fantasias for Viola da Gamba - Pandolfo

Rating: 5/5

A fabulous set

This is an excellent set.  It's a real pleasure to have this recently-discovered work by Telemann, and Paolo Pandolfo plays it magnificently.

Anyone who still believes the old canard that Telemann was a superficial composer of baroque wallpaper need only to listen to the opening Fantasia in C minor here to have that firmly dispelled.  Telemann may not have been another Bach, but then nobody ever has been; he was a fine composer in his own right and all of these are works of depth, thoughtfulness and real compositional skill.  The minor-key Fantasias are especially fine, I think, with a genuine intellectual and spiritual weight.  They are a delight to listen to.

Pandolfo is, as always, brilliant.  He has a slightly improvisatory style with more rhythmic freedom than some players, which I like very much.  Here, he brings out the meaning and beauty of these pieces wonderfully, and the sound of his gamba is magnificent (and beautifully recorded by Glossa). 

In short, this is a fabulous release of top-quality but unknown music, beautifully played and recorded and with very good notes and lovely presentation.  Very warmly recommended.

(Robert Smith also released a recording of these Fantasias earlier this year. I haven't yet heard it but I hope to be able to compare the two versions eventually; certainly, two recordings of these fine works will be no hardship!)

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