During his lifetime, Georg Philipp Telemann was widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the period – perhaps the greatest of them all, not forgetting J.S. Bach or Handel. But the very aspects that his contemporaries admired were the same that later critics would find questionable: his extensive and varied œuvre, the fluency with which he wrote in all genres and styles, and his manifestly modern, cosmopolitan outlook. Compared with Bach’s more compact, serious music, Telemann’s elegant, sophisticated style was judged to be lacking, and this unfavourable comparison has followed Telemann ever since. The truth is that, despite the size of his œuvre, Telemann rarely repeats himself; in spite of the ease with which he adopted new styles and idioms, he is far from superficial. On the contrary, his music is varied, innovative and diverse, while at the same time possessing an immediacy and intimacy that are second to none. All of this great range and variety is represented in his works for the flute. Telemann wrote for the recorder as well as for the transverse flute that was more in favour in France, but the music was intended for either instrument. The greater part of that music – from solo fantasias and duets to concertos and double concertos – has been gathered in this boxed set, in highly praised recordings by two acclaimed Swedish recorder players: Clas Pehrsson and Dan Laurin. They are supported by continuo players in the chamber music, and by the eminent Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble in the concertos, and matched by soloists such as the acclaimed baroque bassoonist Michael McCraw, but there is never any doubt that the star of this collection is the recorder itself – and, of course, Telemann!
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