- Grillen Symphonie, for piccolo, flute, oboe, chalumeau, 2 double basses, strings & continuo in G major, TWV 50:1
This group of Telemann pieces was recorded in 2002 for the U.S.-based Koch International label, now defunct. It remains a sterling Telemann release, and Avie deserves credit for spotting it and putting it into circulation once again. The Cleveland-based Baroque orchestra Apollo's Fire and conductor Jeannette Sorrell pick a program that shows exactly why Telemann was so popular in his own day: the music is colorful, extremely witty, and seemingly flowing from an inexhaustible font of invention, and Sorrell and company have agility and lightness. In national-flavored pieces like the "Concerto Polonois, TWV43:G7," and in the two programmatic pieces at the end, lie the first roots of musical Romanticism. The high-spirited "Concerto for flute and recorder in E minor, TWV52:e1," is an abstract work that fits well with the extramusical referents in the rest of the pieces. Most delightful of all is the "Grillen-Symphonie, TWV50:1," an actual three-movement symphony from the late 1750s or early 1760s that shows the aging composer easily keeping up with current trends. The term "Grillen" may refer either to crickets or whims, and there are passages in the music that could support either interpretation. But sample the "Etwas lebhaft" (rather lively) first movement and note its striking, almost Mozartian quality. Sorrell and Apollo's Fire apply the right level of broad gesture to the two representational suites, which reflect their subjects but are in no way overdone. A wonderful Telemann release that holds up to repeated hearings.