Telemann: Recorder Sonatas & Fantasias

Reviewed on Tue 12 Jul, 2016

The composer has a knack of making the stuffiest Baroque conventions – the formal fugues and other necessities of the day – seem fresh-minted and fun; Pamela Thorby has a knack of making it all seem effortlessly extempore.

It’s positively impossible not to smile at least once (indeed, several times) when listening to Pamela Thorby’s account of Telemann’s whimsical works for recorder. The composer has a knack of making the stuffiest Baroque conventions – the formal fugues and other necessities of the day – seem fresh-minted and fun; Thorby has a knack of making it all seem effortlessly extempore. The soloist is accompanied by a lively ensemble in the Sonatas, including most notably Peter Whelan, whose chattering bassoon makes for a delightful companion to Thorby’s recorder, notably in the D minor Sonata. The second disc is devoted entirely to Telemann’s solo Fantasias, originally for flute but here transcribed for recorders of various sizes. In contrast to the gravitas of Bach, Telemann’s works for solo instrument, while being no less formally structured, have an unrestrained, almost birdsong-like feel that suits Thorby’s relaxed, almost improvisational style perfectly.
–Mark Walker