Telemann was renowned for embracing the full gamut of musical styles on offer in 18th-century Europe, combining them into the so-called mixed style: le goût réuni. The Twelve Fantasias juxtapose German counterpoint with Italian virtuosity, French and English dance movements with Polish folk-infused dances. On the occasion of Telemann’s 250th anniversary of death in 2017, the City Music commissioned twelve new works for Tabea, exploring the continuing relevance of these ingenious pieces by adding the 21st century to the mosaic of compositional styles.
The album presents a complete recording of Telemann’s XII Fantasie per il Flauto senza Basso (Twelve Fantasias for Unaccompanied Flute) interspersed by twelve new works, commissioned by City Music Foundation. Each new composition, written by twelve leading and emerging composers is a response to one of the twelve Fantasias. Together, they form a rich anthology, a hybrid work, which is both a natural extension of Telemann’s own stylistic eclecticism, and a true picture of what it is to be a recorder player in the 21st century.
“He who cannot sing / cannot play either.”
This statement by Johann Mattheson is drastic but not entirely new. Throughout many centuries of musical history, prestigious and well-regarded musicians, composers and theorists have discussed and reinforced this topic – the relationship between the human voice and any musical instrument, between singing and playing.
Why should one match the human voice in playing? For the sole purpose of being historically correct? After all, it is generally believed that music is the language that everyone understands… In it listening and understanding are, ideally, closely linked.
“The first track (…) makes it absolutely clear why you will love this CD. Tabea Debus’s spirited, virtuosic and musically compelling playing is immediately obvious, as is her evident sense of humour… An outstanding recording by a talented young musician.” Andrew Benson-Wilson, 2016
“But the main draw is without a doubt Tabea Debus and the way she plays no, commands, the recorder. She brings out the vocal quality of the music so well, that it often sounds like birdsong more so than a wind instrument. Her technique is astounding, and most particularly her pristine articulation of each and every note and precise accenting are quite spellbinding. Especially when you consider that she makes it all sound so musical. I should hope that there are plenty of recordings planned with her in mind in the future…” Classical Music Sentinel, 2016
Musicians have long been fascinated by ostinato bass models or “grounds”. Grounds are also right up to date, a point illustrated by more than merely the current techno scene. The first works to illustrate this principle may be found among the earliest examples of medieval western polyphony and shortly afterwards, in many Renaissance works. As transmitted by Claudio Monteverdi and Henry Purcell, this fascination achieved an early high point in the Baroque, notably in the music of Buxtehude, Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach. A number of these pieces have lost none of their popularity even three centuries later. Who is not familiar with Arcangelo Corelli’s La folia variations op. 5 no. 12 or Pachelbel’s Canon?
“Tabea Debus’s playing is an absolute delight. She plays with a beautiful sense of musical line and phrasing, wearing her obvious virtuosity lightly, and producing results that are first and foremost musical.” Andrew Benson-Wilson, 2015
La Stagione has now released these two new CDs marking the beginning of a new series (on four CDs) dedicated to Telemann’s concertos for mixed ensembles and thus taking us to the very heart of his oeuvre. It is to be assumed that the composer wrote them either as festive opening pieces for vocal works or as showpieces for particular instrumental virtuosos or ensembles. Once again the concertos exhibit high compositional quality and Telemann’s frequently cited »mixed style« in their wealth of motivic shapes and widely spanned harmonic developments.
“Performed with great variety and magic. A new Telemann series promising magnificent musical highlights and truly giving us pleasure” klassik. com 12 / 2014
Famed for the crystalline beauty of his voice and the breath-taking daring of his artistry, British countertenor Iestyn Davies returned to Wigmore Hall with a programme reaching back to the Restoration Court to reveal the wealth of musical riches of the late 17th-century London. This Gramophone award winning CD was recorded on Wigmore Hall Live.
Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
Richard Egarr (harpsichord)
Pamela Thorby, Tabea Debus (recorder)
Bojan Čičić, Stephen Pedder (violin)
Julia Kuhn (viola, violin)
Mark Levy (viola da gamba)
William Carter (theorbo, baroque guitar).