The performers are a comparatively recent period-instruments orchestra, the Indianapolis Baroque (or IndyBaroque), formed in 1997 and led by flautist and recorder player Barthold Kuijken, whom you may know from his work with brothers Wieland and Sigiswald Kuijken in La Petite Bande. The Indy ensemble are good and serve the music with skill and high spirits.
First up is the Ouverture in C minor. Here we find Telemann at his most unhurried, and Kuijken seems perfectly content with playing it that way. There is nothing forced, rushed, or driven about the performance. Instead, it’s a little like a Frederick Delius piece, maybe a casual boat ride one summer evening. Still, Kuijken moves it along at a graceful, stately gait, ensurng it doesn’t become stodgy.
After that is the five-movement Sonata in E minor, which is perhaps a shade more solemn than the previous selections. Nevertheless, Kuijken moves it along at a fluid, gracious pace, the concluding movement, marked “Gay” a special delight.
Then, there is the four-movement Concerto for Two Flutes, Violin and Cello in D major, which seems to include parts for just about everyone in the ensemble. You may notice here a certain degree of similarity with Bach’s Brandenburgs, partly in the layout of instruments and multiple soloists and partly in the tunes themselves. Kuijken leads the players with a slightly yet subdued tone.
The program ends with the seven-movement Sinfonia Melodica in C major, which may have been among Telemann’s final compositions before he died. If so, he went out in style. It’s a delightful, affable, and courtly farewell.
Producer, engineer, and editor Malcolm Bruno made the recording at Ruth Lilly Performance Hall, Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, University of Indianapolis in February 2019. The sound is a tad sharper and clearer than we usually hear from Naxos. For the most part, it’s quite natural, with a smooth, rounded midrange and a nicely extended high end. The lower treble is sometimes prominent, but it is never distractingly bright. The lower end of the musical spectrum is somewhat wanting, however, and dynamics are average at best.