Written across the decades of his long and industrious career, Telemann’s oboe concertos vary considerably in musical terms, yet they are always distinguished by his apparently effortless feeling for melody and grateful writing for the soloist. His language is instantly identifiable and unique to him: although it certainly belongs to the Baroque age, it also contains hints of the Classical style, and in particular the style galant.
Three concertos here date from the 1720s, a highly productive period for the composer, which was spent in Frankfurt and then Hamburg. He had written in 1718 that he had no great enthusiasm for the genre of concerto, but that reservation should probably be interpreted as a distaste for the ostentatious display of virtuosity in some Italian concertos; indeed, virtuosity for its own sake seems to have interested him far less than innovations in scoring, style and structure. Indeed these concertos represent virtually a history of the genre in Germany during the first half of the 18th century.
The composer displayed a particular fondness for the sweeter timbre of the oboe d’amore, and his use of it in suites and concertos significantly contributed to its wider success and growth of use throughout Germany during the first half of the 18th century. The A major concerto, TWV51:A2 is a particularly graceful example, opening with a Siciliano in a tripping 6/8 rhythm and continuing in a similarly untroubled vein of pastoral lyricism.
This is the third album of the Latvian oboist Andrius Puskunigis to appear on Brilliant Classics, after highly successful releases of Bach (BC94991) and Classical (BC95218) oboe concertos, which won won international praise for their technical transparency and stylish exuberance.
In preparation of the Telemann year 2017: a new recording of the solo oboe concertos!
Georg Philipp Telemann was one of the most prolific composers in music history, his many works however all share a freshness, originality and brilliance which shows the true genius of this too long neglected Baroque composer, contemporary of Bach and Handel. The six concertos recorded on this disc are for solo oboe or oboe’d’amore. Most of them were written in Telemann’s Hamburg period. They are clearly modelled on the concertos by Vivaldi and Albinoni, italianate melodies of great melodic charm and beauty, alternate with brilliant figurations and instrumental virtuosity.
Excellent performances by Andrius Puskunigis and his Lithuanian ensemble St Christopher Chamber orchestra conducted by Donatas Katkus, following the principals of Historically Informed Performance Practice while playing modern instruments. Puskunigis’ earlier recording of Bach Oboe Concertos (BC 94991) received excellent reviews, praising his vitality, flexibility and “Spielfreude”.