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Il est assez rare d'entendre des pièces intimistes de Telemann , compositeur prolixe mais plutot extraverti dans la plupart de ses oeuvres . Ces fantaisies écrites en 1732 /33 adoptent un modèle Italien pour 24 d'entre elles et un modèle Français pour les 12 suivantes . Leur inspiration est assez inconstante et leur forme aurait au moins mérité un jeu engagé de la part de l'interprète . Malheureusement , ce n'est pas le cas dans cet enregistrement qui me rappelle (la nostalgie n'est pas toujours bonne à prendre) le jeu de Ruggero Gerlin dans les années 60 .Pourtant Andrea Coen ne me parait pas âgé au point d'avoir gardé cette technique clavenistique ferraillante et sèche qui dépouillait les oeuvres de toute sensibilité au profit d'une technique implacable . Telemann ne sort pas grandi de cette écoute , le clavecin ,bien qu'il s'agisse d'une copie de Mietke du XVIIIème ,n'arrange pas les choses tant son timbre est agressif et ingrat . A réserver pour la curiosité et en attente d'une véritable redécouverte de l'oeuvre pour clavecin de Telemann .
Some of the other reviews here suggest that Telemann's works are comparable to Bach's. No such thing! These are fairly pedestrian works, not without their charm, but without anything like Bach's genius. The harpsichord is rather a dull-sounding one, nice and clattery in its middle tones but without any penetration in the treble and rather lacking in bass. The performance is also a little bit plodding though it is difficult to know if anyone could achieve lift-off with this material; Coen is fluent and neat and articulates the shapes of the music well but without much panache. If you have a specialist interest in harpsichord music and want to know about Telemann's, well, this is a good place to start. But if you don't know much harpsichord music than Froberger, Fischer, Rameau, Duphly, Rameau, Balbastre and late Francois Couperin are better places to start and if you want to hear contrapuntal music by a master on the harpsichord, then turn to J S Bach.
I really like the '36 Fantasias for Harpsichord' by Georg Philipp Telemann. I play them for my own enjoyment and I also play them in church quite frequently on either piano or organ. I'm happy to let someone else play them for a change and all I have to do is sit back and listen. (Actually I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone play them, ever, other than me, either live or on a recording!)
Hm ... but I don't think they were meant to be heard in this fashion, like a crazy marathon. It doesn't do them credit. There are too many of them and they need to be spaced out a little. It is like listening to a Bach organ CD of nothing but toccatas and fugues. There are those kinds of CDs. The toccatas and fugues are masterpieces. But one after the other, on and on , end on end, they are tiresome. A smart Bach organ CD would have a toccata and fugue, followed by a reflective chorale prelude, before continuing on with another toccata and fugue.
And even one who enjoys these pieces would admit they are not on the same plane as a Bach toccata and fugue.
So, if I were planning a complete traversal of these Fantasias on 3 CDs, I can think of a few better ways it could be done. First, it is a rather mundane harpsichord sound, recorded in very dry acoustics and very close-miked. I would have a recommended a harpsichord with a little more personality, preferably with two manuals or at least a few different stops or 'toys' to bring out some different timbres and variety to so much similar harpsichord music. Actually I would love to have heard a treatment similar to the Well-Tempered Clavier done by Daniel Chorzempa. That is alternate between harpsichord, organ, and fortepiano. That would have been awesome! I would have a little reverb that complements the harmonics and have the microphones back just a ways.
So the main problem is the physical sound characteristics of both the harpsichord itself and the recording technique. Performance-wise, they are excellent, tempos are my tempos etc. I personally may have made a little more drama, rolled a few chords rather than hitting them all block-style, etc. OK, I am done giving advice to excellent artists who have far more talent and ability than myself :)
But this is not meant to be a negative review; few things in life are perfect and there isn't any other recording, and not likely to be. I am enjoying the set very much, and I do recommend it.
I've been listening to a lot of harpsichord music lately. Each composer seems to have their own idiomatic approach to music, which requires more than one listening to become familiar with that idiom and start enjoying the music. Being used to Bach's music, for example, made it easier for me to listen and understand Handel's compositions, but when it came to Couperin, I needed a bit more adjustment, and even more so when it came to other lesser known French composers (like d'Anglebert), for example. Telemann falls in this latter category - on the first listening, I was not very impressed by these compositions, but as I went through the music a second time, I started appreciating it for the collection of lighter pieces that it is. Thomas Gleim's review does a better job of putting into words the character of this music than I could do, so make sure to read it as well.
I initially expressed some reservations about the quality of the interpretation, but after additional listening, these have evaporated. The more I listen to this music, the more I like it. And the recording quality is excellent, as it tends to be for all these (relatively) recent Brilliant Classics productions.
As a companion to this set, I recommend
Fugues Overtures Preludes & Suites Twv 31-32
... Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) is a match for his friend and contemporary JS Bach -- in their cantatas and oratorios, in their orchestral suites and concertos, in their Passion settings -- except for one: their works for solo keyboard (harpsichord or organ). No solo harpsichord work by Telemann approaches the grandeur of Bach's Goldberg Variations, "French" Suites or "English Suites." Telemann's compositions for organ are largely unexplored musical territory but I'd be flabbergasted if they met the standard of Bach's preludes and fugues. The thirty six "fantasias" of TWV33, played here by Andrea Coen, compare more suitably with Bach's Two and Three Part Inventions and with the charming miniatures from the Ana Magdalena Notebook. In that comparison, Telemann hold his own in terms of delight.
Sophistication and delight are probably the key qualities of these pieces. Good keyboardists tell me that they are not especially challenging but that they are a constant joy to play, first because they are so thoroughly idiomatic to the harpsichord and second because they are tirelessly inventive and effervescent. Whereas Bach's keyboard works are intellectual and pedagogical, Telemann's are ineluctably entertainments, both for the player and the listener. Hearing them before or after Bach's Art of Fugue, for instance, I can understand why musicians and audiences of the generation of Bach's sons regarded Bach as "dry." And why Telemann was enormously more successful as a career composer. There's a huge stock of musical craft in these pieces, but one hardly notices it while being charmed by their emotional and kinaesthetic piquancy. Don't mistake effortlessness for facility! Telemann had YOUR pleasure in mind when he wrote this music, and he knew how to achieve it.
The 36 fantasias are divide into three sets of twelve. The first and last are Italianate in style, while the second set is gallantly French. To my ears, the French twelve are more distinctive and more affective. All 36 are played on the same harpsichord, a copy of an 18th C German instrument, but the timbres of that instrument sound especailly lovely on the slow movements of the French-style fantasies. Harpsichordist Andrea Coen has performed with Monica Huggett, Christopher Hogwood, and a number of Italian HIPP ensembles, though he is better known as a musicologist and teacher at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Roma.
This CD is one of three recordings of all 36 Telemann's Fantasias, the other two being Peter Ella, 1995 and out of print, and Joseph Payne, currently in print. As can be expected, all three are excellent performances. I've picked up an interesting 'live in the studio' feel to Coen's performance, which, in my opinion adds a lot of musicality to these Fantasias. The live aspect comes from Coen's "between the written notes" improvisations, subtle to the point that I have to refer to the written score to know exactly where he's improvising, but an important part of live performances in Telemann's day. Whereas both Ella and Payne more or less stick to the music as written, Coen does that while nicely spicing it up a bit. Both performance techniques are fine interpretations, and give a contrast worth having in your CD library.
Taken in their totality, that is, the span of all three dozen, the Fantasias range from not so difficult to formidable, but to render all of them with proper Baroque technique requires study and experience. Many of the trills, and, as I have said, other improvisational factors that you hear on any recording, may not actually be specified in the music, so it was up to the performer to know where and how to do trills and passing notes; that is another part of the improvisational aspect of these Fantasias that we musicians must be familiar with.
I am an accomplished musician, Baroque keyboards and classical guitar. Almost every day on keyboards I play through either most of Telemann's Fantasias or some Scarlatti Sonatas. The Telemann Fantasias never get old, you can play them and listen to them over and over again and still enjoy them all, and that is exactly what I do.
Read the other 5 star reviews for more insightful information about Telemann and his music. Regard them well.
Recorded 27 February 2011 - 2 March 2011 in the Teatro La Fortuna (Monte San Vito, Italy), the "36 Fantasies for Harpsichord" totals some 120 pieces (3 compact discs) of music varying from as little as 00:30 to as much as 02:44. Andrea Coen demonstrates his competency at the instrument throughout. This is my first exposure to this work (and this artist). The recordings themselves are clear, crisp and well-engineered. Beyond enjoyable - and frankly, a great value!
So much music for $15.00/US.
The listing on Amazon has a few omissions, so here's the collection as recorded: Compact Disc 1: (54:59)
Fantasia in D TWV33: 1 01 I. Allegro (1:20) 02 II. Adagio (1:30) 03 III. Presto (1:25)
Fantasia in D minor TWV33:2 04 I. Presto (1:29) 05 II. Adagio (1:15) 06 III. Presto (1:33)
Fantasia in E TWV33: 3 07 I. Vivace (1:31) 08 II. Largo (2:31) 09 III. Vivace (1:35)
Fantasia in E minor TWV33: 4 10 I. Allegro (1:24) 11 II. Dolce (0:43) 12 III. Allegro (1:29)
Fantasia in F TWV33: 5 13 I. Vivace (1:40) 14 II. Largo (0:49) 15 III. Vivace (1:42)
Fantasia in F minor TWV33: 6 16 I. Tempo di Minuetto (1:59) 17 II. Largo (1:06) 18 III. Tempo di Minuetto (2:04)
Fantasia in G TWV33: 7 19 I. Presto (1:30) 20 II. Largo (0:58) 21 III. Presto (1:35)
Fantasia in G minor TWV33: 8 22 I. Vivace (1:27) 23 II. Cantabile (2:44) 24 III. Vivace (1:33)
Fantasia in A TWV33: 9 25 I. Allegro (1:40) 26 II. Grave (0:46) 27 III. Allegro (1:44)
Fantasia in A minor TWV33: 10 28 I. Allegro (1:53) 29 II. Largo (1:01) 30 III. Allegro (1:56)
Fantasia in B flat TWV33: 11 31 I. Allegro (1:59) 32 II. Largo (1:03) 33 III. Allegro (2:04)
Fantasia in E flag TWV33: 12 34 I. Vivace (1:24) 35 II. Largo (0:42) 36 III. Vivace (1:26)
Compact Disc 2: (64:05)
Fantasia in C minor TWV33: 13 01 I. Tendrement (1:22) 02 II. Vivement (1:16) 03 III. Tendrement (1:29) 04 IV. Tres vite (0:32)
Fantasia in C TWV33: 14 05 I. Gravement (2:29) 06 II. Gayment (1:30) 07 III. Gravement (2:38) 08 IV. Allegrement (0:44)
Fantasia in B minor TWV33: 15 09 I. Pompeusement (1:35) 10 II. Allegrement (0:59) 11 III. Pompeusement (1:36) 12 IV. Gayment (0:38)
Fantasia in D TWV33: 16 13 I. Gratieusment (1:38) 14 II. Vivement (1:33) 15 III. Gratieusment (1:39) 16 IV. Vite (0:36)
Fantasia in G minor TWV33: 17 17 I. Melodieusement (1:27) 18 II. Spirituellement (1:24) 19 III. Melodieusement (1:36) 20 IV. Vite, en sol min. (0:32)
Fantasia in B flat TWV33: 18 21 I. Tendrement (1:50) 22 II. Gayment (1:25) 23 III. Tendrement (0:32) 24 IV. Vite (0:30)
Fantasia in A minor TWV33: 19 25 I. Lentement (1:53) 26 II. Allegrement (1:07) 27 III. Lentement (1:53) 28 IV. Vivement (0:53)
Fantasia in A TWV33: 20 29 I. Gratieusement (1:54) 30 II. Vite (1:10) 31 III. Gratieusement (0:37) 32 IV. Gayment (0:53)
Fantasia in E minor TWV33: 21 33 I. Flateusement (1:21) 34 II. Vivement (1:05) 35 III. Flateusement (1:27) 36 IV. Tres vite (0:41)
Fantasia in G TWV33: 22 37 I. Moderement (1:47) 38 II. Vivement (1:51) 39 III. Moderement (1:47) 40 IV. Gayment (0:43)
Fantasia in G minor TWV33: 23 41 I. Pompeusement (1:56) 42 II. Allegrement (1:11) 43 III. Pompeusement (1:39) 44 IV. Vite (0:30)
Fantasia in B flat TWV33: 24 45 I. Gratieusement (2:34) 46 II. Gaillardement (1:05) 47 III. Gratieusement (1:19) 48 IV. Vitement (0:59)
Compact Disc 3: (49:58)
Fantasia in F TWV33: 25 01 I. Vivace (1:10) 02 II. Tempo giusto (1:35) 03 III. Vivace (0:42)
Fantasia in D minor TWV33: 26 04 I. Vivace (1:38) 05 II. Largo (1:59) 06 III. Vivace (1:12)
Fantasia in E minor TWV33: 27 07 I. Tempo giusto (1:17) 08 II. Presto (0:53) 09 III. Tempo giusto (1:22)
Fantasia in G TWV33: 28 10 I. Vivace (1:21) 11 II. Dolce (1:36) 12 III. Vivace (1:25)
Fantasia in G minor TWV33: 29 13 I. Allegro (1:31) 14 II. Soave (1:28) 15 III. Allegro (1:36)
Fantasia in C minor TWV33: 30 16 I. Gratioso (1:11) 17 II. Vivace (1:01) 18 III. Gratioso (1:02)
Fantasia in A TWV33: 31 19 I. Presto (1:07) 20 II. Arioso (1:49) 21 III. Presto (1:13)
Fantasia in A minor TWV33: 32 22 I. Vivace (1:20) 23 II. Minuet (0:49) 24 III. Vivace (1:27)
Fantasia in B minor TWV33: 33 25 I. Allegro (1:09) 26 II. Con pompa (1:46) 27 III. Allegro (1:12)
Fantasia in D TWV33: 34 28 I. Allegro (1:20) 29 II. Dolce (1:04) 30 III. Allegro (1:26)
Fantasia in E flat TWV33: 35 31 I. Vivace (1:31) 32 II. Moderato (1:28) 33 III. Vivace (1:37)
Fantasia in B flat TWV33: 36 34 I. Vivace (1:52) 35 II. Arioso (1:28) 36 III. Vivace (1:59)
Please join me and enjoy! I rate "Telemann: 36 Fantasias"...Five stars!