Photo: Courtesy of the Ensemble
Georg Philipp Telemann was the most prominent composer in Germany during the late Baroque. He was also one of the most prolific. Among his many compositions is a three-part collection of pieces entitled Musique de Table, or “Table Music,” which refers to the menu-like organization of each part—Ouverture, quartet, concerto, trio, solo, and conclusion. In a sense, Telemann created a musical banquet.
The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra’s new Harmonia Mundi recording of the complete Musique de Table is an absolute joy to listen to. The performance is vibrant, expressive, and often quite commanding in its approach to Telemann. I’ve yet to listen to a Freiburg Baroque Orchestra recording that wasn’t world-class—the latest is no different in that respect.
Another German ensemble known for their Telemann recordings is the now disbanded Musica Antiqua Cologne. The 2000 Archiv Produktion release of string concertos is surely one of the group’s finest. The inclusion of Telemann’s concerto for viola is the most exciting, if rare, on a period instrument recording.