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This is a delightful record. Telemann, one of the most prolific composers of all time, wrote music that is technically masterful, endlessly inventive, full of surprises, emotionally mercurial, and continuously engaging. In these five concertos, composed over two decades, the solo flutist is often joined by one or more soloists from the ranks of the orchestra, who, as in Telemann's day, are all fully equal to the task. This results in a wide variety of combinations and colors, illustrating Telemann's skill in displaying each instrument at its best, so as to "give the player joy, the listener pleasure," as he himself put it.
These performances certainly radiate infectious enjoyment. The concertos all follow the traditional form, alternating four slow and fast movements, but are infinitely diverse in tonality, texture, mood, and character. There are carefree, sprightly, playful, elegant dances, humorous imitation games, brilliant passage-work and cadenzas, startling chromaticisms, and deeply expressive melodies that beguile the ear and touch the heart. The first movement of the opening Concerto is so reminiscent of a Bach Arioso that one of the two composers must have "borrowed" it from the other. The playing is superb in a modified period-style: the pitch is normal; the sound wonderfully pure, but rich and full; tempi are designed to invite both virtuosity and leisurely enjoyment of musical and expressive details. Pahud uses a narrow, restrained vibrato that underlines the flawless beauty of his tone. The other players, all like him present or past principals of the Berlin Philharmonic, match him in the perfection of their intonation, phrasing, and ensemble. --Edith Eisler