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International Record Review - (04/2013)
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Appréciation d'ensemble/ Evaluation : "... here is an enchanting programme, affectionately performed and well recorded".
Reviewer:  Nicholas Anderson

This excellent label, long associated with enterprising Early Music projects, seems recently to have taken on a new lease of life. Uppermost among the beneficiaries is Telemann, whose opera seria Flavius Bertaridus was issued last year (it was reviewed in January 2013) and whose opera Orpheus will shortly be released in the UK. In addition to these are two discs of arias from assorted stage works. The earlier of them, reviewed in these pages in February 2012, featured the Catalonian soprano Nuria Rial. The soprano on this newly released disc is the German soprano Dorothee Mields with L’Orfeo Barockorchester directed by violinist Michi Gaigg. The programme formula follows much the same pattern in each case, that is to say a sequence of arias interspersed with orchestral pieces. To my ears Mields’s recital is musically the more interesting of the two. Rial’s singing, though mellifluous, lacks tonal variety while that of Mields offers greater expressive range. Furthermore, her thoughtfully constructed programme includes an attractive chamber cantata, as well as opera arias and two effectively contrasting concertos: one for violin, the other for oboe d’amore.

As so often with Telemann our senses are beguiled by the sheer stylistic terms of reference which inform the music. French and Italian as well as indigenous manners are ever present and easily discerned both in the vocal and instrumental writing. While fully fledged opera was not perhaps among the composer’s greatest strengths, few if any of us will be able to resist the captivating charm of its component parts. As a competent woodwind player he knew precisely wherein lay an instrument’s most affecting qualities just as, in setting texts, his lively interest in literary matters as well as his own modest skill as a poet and librettist enabled him to provide music which reflects textual details together with generalities of atmosphere, location and the like. Such virtues are abundantly on display in the little ‘Andante’ of the E minor Concerto for oboe d’amore, with its virtuosic outer movements, and in the three beguiling arias of the cantata from which derives the title of the disc. The first of them is accompanied by two bassoons with strings, while the second may be recognized, at least by violinists, flautists or oboists as the ‘Dolce’ from the first Partita of the composer’s Die Kleine Kammermusik. The third aria is irrepressibly joyful and sung by Mields with panache and expressive allure.

In short, here is an enchanting programme, affectionately performed and well recorded. Documentation is much more thoroughgoing than the earlier recital disc, which incidentally contains one or two serious documentary errors, notably describing a C major Violin Concerto as the Overture to Telemann’s comic opera Der geduldige Socrates. It is nothing of the kind. The opera has its own Ouverture in the French manner and very fine it is, too.

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