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Telemann: The Six Paris Quartets

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 10, 2000
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Product Details

  • Performer: Wilbert Hazelzet, Monica Huggett, Sarah Cunningham, Mitzi Meyerson, Gary Cooper
  • Orchestra: Trio Sonnerie
  • Composer: George Philipp Telemann
  • Audio CD (October 10, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Erato
  • ASIN: B00004TQQX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,738 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Six quartets for flute and continuo were composed by Telemann [1681-1767] as early as 1730 in Germany and achieved enough success to be "pirated" and printed in 1736, without his knowledge, by the unscrupulous French publisher Le Clerk. Undaunted, the increasingly popular Telemann "refurbished" the works during a brief sojourn in Paris in 1738, re-titled them the "Nouveaux quatuors en six suites a une flute traversiere, un violon, une basse de viole ou violoncelle et basse," vastly more impressive, and proceeded to publish them himself. The impetus to improve his lot obviously forced the composer to stretch the boundaries of his creative abilities, as well. The six "Paris Quartets," as they have been nicknamed, are pinnacles not only of Telemann's oeuvre, but also of the entire Baroque chamber repertoire.

The bi-centennial anniversary in 1967 of Telemann's death, launched by record companies such as Telefunken and Nonesuch, sparked an incredibly overdue renaissance of the composer's neglected output. Music heretofore unheard came before an omnivorous classical public, of which I was one. And such music! Grand productions (Tafelmusik, Water Music, Overtures), glorious concertos for almost every instrumental combination, and a vast assortment of chamber works, most notably the "Paris Quartets."

I would expect that the Quattro Amsterdam two-LP version of these works (with Bruggen, Schroder, Bylsma and Leonhardt) was the introduction for the majority of us, and it was elucidating. These performances, which have since been transferred to a mid-priced "twofer" on Teldec, have remained without competition; that is, until the arrival of this beguiling new bargain set with Hazelzet, Huggett and the ensemble Sonnerie. Did I say, "bargain"?
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Format: Audio CD
This 2-CD set is wonderful. I was not familiar with Telemann's music before I bought this set, but soon fell in love with his music afterwards. The music is light, soothing, and addictive. I frequently find myself whistling the tunes from quartet no.5 at work. The music on these CD's are typical of Telemann's later compositions. These compositioins are good example of the transition from late Baroque to early Classical. Oh yeah, the orchestration is also excellent. You can hear and distinguish every instrument. Well, I may not be a good writer, but I know good music when I hear it, and this is certainly one such good music!
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By Gio on February 19, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having heard so many mediocre performances of Telemann, I'd come to think of him as the most over-rated rediscovered genius of early music. In fact, I've been shunning concerts and new CDs of his work for years, and I've laughed smugly at the standard musicologist's tale of how Telemann was chosen for a prestigious musical position over Bach. Listening this recording of Ensemble Sonnerie, I find that the laugh is on me. Oh, not entirely; the six "Paris" quartets for flute, strings and harpsichord are vivacious and inventive, and structurally brilliant, but far from profound. Though all six quartets are presented together here, it would do them a great disservice to listen to them in a row, something comparable to playing six rounds of miniature golf with the same 10-year-old partner. Still, there's no denying that for galante music, Telemann is masterful, especially when performed by musicians who know and feel his temperament. Sonnerie features exactly such historically informed musicians, led by violinist Monica Huggett, whose fiddling is always both restrained and emotive. Listening to their spirited ensemble, I can at least imagine how some audiences of the 18th C might have been more charmed by Georg Philipp than by Johann Sebastian.
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During their respective lifetimes Georg Philipp Telemann and Johann Sebastian Bach were at one point considered for the same musical post. Those in charge selected Telemann, which does not speak well for the concept of search committees in general. However, it is easy to hear from this CD, which presents some of the former's most successful (during his lifetime) chamber works, the so-called "Paris" Quartets, why contemporary musicians might have preferred Telemann's music. These works, for combined solo string and wind instruments and continuo, are in several movements, always carefully crafted, melodious, and utterly easy on the ear. The variations that conclude the A minor quartet are a good representation of Telemann's elegant style. All of the suites are superbly played here by a group of musicians that includes the estimable Baroque violinist Monica Huggett.
Those prepared to make finer distinctions among the wealth of eighteenth-century music may find a double CDs worth of Telemann a wee bit soporific, lacking the bracing vigor and drive of the best of Handel or the chromatic passion and superb intellect of Bach. Nevertheless, for those in search of the best possible performances of these agreeable pieces, they've come to the right place.
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Format: Audio CD
Some info I didn't know about this cd till I bought it:

Wilbert Hazelzet: Flute

Monica Huggett: Violin

Sarah Cunningham: Viola de Gamba

Gary Cooper: Harpsichord (on pieces 1, 5)

Mitzi Meyerson: Harpsichord (pieces 2,3,4,6)

2 cds, 17 pieces

I was afraid the harpsichord would get in the way of the strings, but no it doesn't. And the flute is wonderful.
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