Are you ready for extreme 18th century keyboard? The typically sparse packaging graphics of this ECM release may indicate only to German speakers what's contained inside: a "Tangentenflügel" is a tangent piano, a rare keyboard instrument of Mozart's time that used hammers, striking the strings at a tangent, but no dampers. The sound combines qualities of a clavichord (its nearest relative, but the tangent piano is louder), a fortepiano, and a harpsichord.
This attractive mixed programme of Telemann’s works featuring flute or recorder has been designed by Ashley Solomon to celebrate Florilegium’s 25th anniversary. The triple concerto for flute, oboe d’amore and viola d’amore in E major stands out as one of the composer’s most beguiling masterpieces: the limpid opening Andante sounds like a serene evocation of sunrise that anticipates the mature Haydn by several decades; the soloists Solomon, Alexandra Bellamy and Bojan Čičić play with elegant finesse, and also conjure up refined melancholy in an intimately conversational Siciliana. The double concerto for recorder and viola da gamba in A minor is a charming example of Telemann’s taste for synthesising French and Italian musical styles with elements of Polish folk music; Florilegium’s civilised elegance in the French-style Grave, gently Italianate sway in the Allegro, and Solomon’s duet with gambist Reiko Ichise in the Dolce has pastoral sensitivity. At the heart of the programme is Ihr Völker hört, a cantata for solo voice and obbligato instrument that was published in the first instalment of the series Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst. Clare Wilkinson’s softly convivial and articulate singing communicates the cheerful Epiphany text.
Far from the pensive or maudlin connotations usually associated with reflecting in a musical context, Philipp Rumsch likely titled his debut LP after the idea of collisions – not of light, but sound. Extensively trained and with youthful exuberance, the German composer seems to have approached its formulation with the experimental zeal of a scientist – or alchemist.