Neumeyer Consort New Take on Telemann

The Neumeyer Consort perform some of Telemann’s most colorful ouverture-suites — and sound like they had a lot of fun in the process.

Percussion is heard extensively in the Ouverture-Suite “La Bizarre” — as it is in all the suites. It’s not something one normally hears in baroque music, and I found it quite refreshing.

Spanish passion seems to crackle through Courante (aided by maracas and tabor). The deep drum in the gavotte and branle give them an almost Renaissance sound. And let’s not forget the birdcalls and triangle in the Rossignol. Bizarre, I’m sure for 18th-century ears.

Percussion also features in the “La changeante” ouverture-suite. I particularly liked the Hornpipe played at a break-neck pace, and the Canarsie with castanets flailing away. Muy caliente!

Also delightful is the  Suite in A minor for recorder and orchestra, especially with the Air l’Italiaenne and the Rjouissance. Soloist Kerstin Fahr seems to hop from note to note like a bird, never blurring the attacks, no matter how rapid the passages. And there seemed to be an air of good-humor in his playing.

The countries depicted in “Les nations anciennes et modernes” may have been obvious to Telemann’s audiences, but today — not so much. Included in the suite are movements referencing ancient and modern Germans, Swedes, and Danes. No matter — every movement’s a succinctly organized delight.

In the wrong hands, Telemann can sound somewhat generic. These overtures are in the right hands here. Telemann’s cosmopolitan personality comes through in every work. The use of percussion provides added spice and helps cue the listener to the source of each movement’s inspiration.

Georg Philipp Telemann: Ouverture-Suites
Ouverture-Suite in G major, TWV 55:G2 “La Bizarre”
Ouverture-Suite in G minor TWV 55:g2 “La Chagemante”
Ouverture-Suite in A minor TWV 55:a2 for recorder, strings and basso continuo
Ouverture-Suite in G minor TWV 55:G4 “Des Nations anceinnes et modernes”
Kerstin Fahr, recorder
Neumeyer Consort; Felix Koch, conductor

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