Telemann: Essercizii Musici
The old guard in Köln recorded a number of years ago a large collection by the prolific German composer, Telemann. Think of it as another collection, akin to his Tafeflmusik, but this time around, the pieces are all chamber pieces. The title almost puts the collection down, we might dismiss them as "mere musical exercises." Luckily, this isn't how Camerata Köln performs them.
Let me re-iterate: this collection is 98 tracks long, with about 3.9 hours worth of music. It contains solos, trios, and features instruments such as the oboe, flute, violin, recorder, and harpsichord. Some of musical ideas are simple ones, but in the care of able musicians, these ideas don't have to be boring.
The Trio for flute and viola da gamba in B minor is a great example of the set: an inventive line takes hold, only to be repeated in canon by the other instrument. There's some playing together, some solo passages, all the while the bass keeps the pulse going. Simple music, really, but as we know, Telemann can sometimes switch the harmonic expectations on us, and then we have some beautiful barque textures. CK isn't the most extrovert ensemble, but they do an admirable job nonetheless. This may be more Telemann than you need, for sure, but as ever, Telemann writes upbeat numbers that taken in small doses among other works, can make for some satisfying listening.