This recording came out in 2009, but I only discovered it recently after enjoying Ensemble Caprice’s reading of Bach’s Brandeburg Concertos. You can think of this one as a visit with Telemann within the context of a wider concert experience, with more folksy fodder filling in many of the recording’s 28 tracks.
Carmen Genest joins the ensemble with vocals, and even percussion makes its appearance to bring an ethnic quality to the Uhrovska Collection of 1730, from which melodies and rhythms from eastern Europe were preserved. It’s often been written that Telemann’s music was inspired by ethnic flavor; most frequently it was French and Polish influences. It is not therefore a stretch to combine some of Telemann’s better-known pieces with complementary pieces from different cultures.
The players do well to imbibe the music with appropriate flavor that never sounds academic. In fact, the freeness with which the ensemble plays all the music is both commendable and infectious. The recorded sound is also very welcome, both spacious in sound and well-presented across the stereo spectrum.
My only beef with this recording (of which other copy-cats exist with different composers) is that there isn’t more of it, or more Telemann, in particular. The Grillensymphonie is particularly well-done, and the Modéré from the Paris Quartet in E minor is sublime. Their 1.1 hours worth of music is but a delicious taste from this fine Canadian ensemble.