Friday, December 17, 2010

Sunday Classics "loose ends": A previously "missing" performance of Telemann's Viola Concerto -- one to LOVE! -- resurfaces


by Ken

It happens sometimes that a record I have in mind for use for Sunday Classics turns up unavailable. Sometimes I can't figure out where I've filed it (like a CD we're going to be hearing from tomorrow, featuring works for voice and orchestra by Mozart and Richard Strauss, and could plausibly be filed under "Mozart" or "Strauss" or the singer, Christine Schäfer). Sometimes I've already plucked it off the shelf and set it . . . well, somewhere. Sometimes the damned thing is just nowhere to be found! And then, until recently, LPs were disqualified because of their LP-ness.

This, then, is our week for such "loose ends": some records I contemplated incorporating into previous posts but wasn't able to by reason of . . . well, see above. (I think we've got examples of all the above categories.) Or at least some records that have subsequently become availab.e

Tonight's featured selection falls into the category of the "mysteriously missing." When we heard the Telemann G major Viola Concerto, you may recall that I was unable to offer the recording I said had made me fall in love with the piece in the first place. That fine old Musical Heritage Society LP (licensed from Erato) of four Telemann concertos conducted by Kurt Redel just wasn't on the shelf, though by some odd chance another MHS LP (also licensed from Erato!) featuring the Viola Concerto was there. Eventually one day it just turned up, lying around -- off the shelf, from which I still have no recollection of removing it.


The Erato/MHS performance we heard before, with Philipp Naegele as soloist, is OK, and so is the other recording I offered, which I happened to have an a cheap CD I picked up somewhere. But really, I don't think there's any comparison with this one. Both the soloist, Georg Schmid, and conductor Redel (seen here looking very distinguished, some 40 years after recording our Telemann LP) have imagined the piece in terms of actual phrasing, where lines are shaped not just with remarkable beauty but as an expression of real human communicative impulses.

TELEMANN: Viola Concerto in G
[0:00] i. Largo
[3:35] ii. Allegro
[6:17] iii. Andante
[10:15] iv. Presto
Georg Schmid, viola; Munich Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Kurt Redel, cond. Erato/Musical Heritage Society, recorded c1961


It seems the least I can do for you. Obviously, this is from the same Erato/MHS LP. This Flute Concerto doesn't seem to me to have the compulsive listenability of the Viola Concerto, but it's a pleasant enough piece. What's more, here our conductor gets to show off his virtuoso-soloist side.

TELEMANN: Flute Concerto in D
[0:00] i. Andante
[4:30] ii. Allegro
[8:40] iii. Largo
[13:17] iv. Allegro assai
Munich Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Kurt Redel, flute and cond. Erato/Musical Heritage Society, recorded c1961
[UPDATE: Sorry about the glitch with the original audio file, which lopped off the end of the concerto. And then while I was fixing it, there was a brief period when there was no audio file attached to this. Should be good now, though!]


As noted above we have Christine Schäfer singing, yes, Mozart and Richard Strauss -- with Claudio Abbado conducting. The key work is Mozart's irresistible motet "Exsultate, jubilate," but we've also got Mozart and Strauss bonuses. Sunday's "loose ends" I'm calling "From Russia with love": unrelated works by Rachmaninoff (six preludes played by Sviatoslav Richter) and what I'm calling "A Sort-Of West Coast Firebird," another hybrid performance of the complete Stravinsky ballet.

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