Telemann Trumpet Concertos

Inspired by Leipzig’s brilliant school of trumpeters from the late 17th Century, Telemann's concertos and suites are full of melodic richness, displaying the great optimism of the time. The overture for 2 trumpets (played by 4 trumpets) and the concerto for 3 trumpets are particularly granidose works, whilst the beautiful chamber concertos for trumpet explore the lyrical qualities of the instrument, especially in the hands of John Wallace. Two previously unrecorded works are featured: the Sinfonia in F, with virtuoso recorder and cello parts and the Overture in D.



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To play much more than bugle calls on the natural trumpet requires a degree of physical strength and control without which a trumpeter was likely to find an early grave, whether through a heart-attack or at the hands of an aurally offended lynch mob; when a trumpeter makes a mistake, only the deaf do not hear it. Bach did not spare his trumpeters and neither did Telemann, who also faced them with many more assault courses.

The two trumpets in the Overture in D are doubled to four but, thanks to good balance and a spacious acoustic, the effect is one of magnificence and not overweighting. Trumpets do tend to steal the scene and, their note-stock being limited, there is a lot of D major (or whatever the natural key of the instrument used may be) to be heard, but Telemann is wonderfully resourceful in concealing these limitations, not least by introducing other, more flexible, solo instruments and even entrusting slow movements to them by way of contrast.

Have no fear that this may be just a celebration of the trumpet's military and ceremonial faces; it is a generous, splendidly played, recorded and balanced programme of delightful music by a composer who knew well how, among many other things, to use the colouristic resources of his orchestra.

J. D.

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