The violin was Georg Philip Telemann’s preferred instrument. Contrary to all convention, he published a collection of six duo sonatas for violin with basso continuo as his Opus 1. The creative independence documented by this move drew on his profound knowledge of contemporary styles and of course is also reflected in his own works. Stephan Schardt now for the first time has recorded these sonatas by Telemann. Along with Elisabeth Wand and Sonja Kemnitzer, he surprises us with a brilliant display of virtuosity and fine expression.
Telemann’s ideas range over a wide spectrum. Deep melancholy pervades the beginning of the Sonata in B minor, beginning with an extended introduction in the bass part. When the violin finally enters, it produces a mere single tone that does not want to end. How different things are in the gigue of the Sonata in D major, which seems to have come tumbling out of an Irish pub. It is full of witty ideas and plays with our listening expectations – while the virtuoso clearly takes special delight in the pleasure offered by this folkloristic insert.
Stephan Schardt is an outstanding violinist and a highly expressive musician with a superb knowledge of baroque performance style (and naturally of the relevant theoretical writings). He was the concertmaster of the Musica Antiqua Köln for many years and is a genuine windfall for this first recording. Just listen to the wealth of imagination in tasteful ornaments ranging from the simple mordent to fully prescribed repetitions! Here and there extended improvisations are found; his two fellow musicians skillfully respond to them and complement them with fabulous inspiration.
Telemann’s spirited first work is also shown in its proper audio light. How could anything else be expected – given the fact that this recording has been carefully produced on SACD in genuine 2+2+2 recording style? The music very naturally detaches itself from loudspeakers and creates you-are-there listening space. As Telemann wrote, “Music wants | that a man devote himself to the whole of it.” And so we do!