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Telemann Solo Fantasias

12 Violin Fantasias

Maya Magub

CRD 3530

I have received and reviewed below three versions of the well-known solo set, originally for flute.

But those for solo violin are a discovery. Maya Magub's recording of them is a quiet triumph of scholarship and recorded performance, without competition and fully explained in her excellent notes.

They have not been unknown, but misunderstood and "sorely undervalued", partly because they are short and must not be judged against Bach's !

Maya has a lot to say about ornamentation, and her explanation of her somewhat eclectic choice of instrument, bow and strings (both gut and metal) will be important for violinist purchasers, of which there deserve to be many.


12 Fantasias for Solo Flute
Elizabeth Walker (flute)

Quartz - QTZ2063

This solo debut CD is a labour of love by a distinguished flutist active in modern and period orchestras, as is also violinist Maya Magub, above.

Walker plays Telemann's unique unaccompanied Fantasias on modern flute (Seeley, 1960s) but with every regard to 18 C practice; intimate tone, varied articulation, sparing vibrato and ornamentation, notably in No 9.

Compelling listening.

A Regis reissue of Heinz Holliger's version of the flute fantasias as played on modern oboe [REGIS RRC1343 - origin & date not given] has more virtuosic "in your face" playing, and his is maybe the most straightforward interpretation of the printed scores, which I have obtained and found it an indispensible listening aid. See a detailed and fair review on MusicWeb.

Readers and purchasers may be surprised to discover how "straight" it is on the page. Of obvious interest for oboists, Holliger includes an extra, a Suite with bassoon and harpsichord continuo, but his Fantasias are perhaps less involving than Walker's.

The most sophisticated version is Rachel Brown's on her own label [Uppernote Recordings].

A noted authority and teacher (q.v. The Early Flute), I wonder how often she descends onto the floor, as required for her photographer C Christodoulou?

This disc is one for specialists and devotees of the keyless baroque flute, which it was a pleasure to hear her teach at a recent festival.

Rachel Brown is nothing if not imaginative, and she subjects Telemann's plain score to an infinity of the subtlest inflections and decorations; doing so is quite in order for the period.

Her tone is quiet and intimate, and those who may have been disappointed hearing the Fantasias live in an unsuitable venue will be happy to have bought the disc afterwards [see Flute Focus review].

Peter Grahame Woolf

* See too Bach Concertos with the London Conchord Ensemble, which plays also on modern instruments and with a similar philosophy to Elizabeth Walker's.