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GRAMOPHONE (02/2020)
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Reviewer: Lindsay Kemp

Who’s the one demanding respect here? Well, it’s Telemann, who stood at the font for Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. But this is not a trail through Bach family connections, and CPE isn’t even included. Rather, it’s a look at some of the musical cross-currents running between Italy and Germany in the first half of the 18th century, a stream which Telemann stood in the middle of.

This being an Adrian Chandler project, however, we are invited beyond the normal run. There is only one Telemann piece anyway, a colourful concerto kitted out with trumpets and drums; and even the Bach (an exuberant violin concerto movement from a lost cantata, likewise with trumpets and drums) and Vivaldi (a ripieno concerto and a one-off concerto movement) are relatively unfamiliar. From Chandler’s booklet note one detects a keen interest in Pisendel (whose violin sonatas he recorded some years back); the two pieces here include a concerto allegro with tinkerings in it by Pisendel’s teacher Vivaldi and some Bachian (pre?)-echoes, plus a good-natured wind concerto.

It is unlikely, however, that there will be many people who have come across anything by Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello, Kapellmeister to the Württemberg court; his violin-and-bassoon concerto is Vivaldian (especially in its slow movement) but without the same firm sense of direction. The disc ends with another multiple wind concerto by the wonderful Fasch, an underrated composer who more than matches Telemann for skill in giving the listener a pure uplift experience.

If Chandler’s programming of oddities and fragments sometimes looks like a musicological download, the sound his orchestra makes soon makes you forget that. Bright, clear, open and gloriously brassy, with expansive but controlled windplaying, rat-a-tat drumming and boldly projected string sound led by Chandler’s wheeling and diving solo violin – all is light and energy. In places it is nothing short of magnificent. Listen to the Fasch finale and see if you can keep still!

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