Telemann’s concertos offer a unique combination of virtuosity, wit and sense of the theatrical. Having taught himself to play the instrument as a child, the German master had a special understanding of and fondness for the recorder, and for it he created a new hybrid form, the Suite auf Concertenart, which combines soloistic display with baroque dances.
These suites and concertos may be less overtly virtuosic than works in the same genre which were beginning to appear around the same time over the other side of the Alps, but Telemann yields nothing to his Italian counterparts in terms of melodic freshness and fertility. The suites are styled in the French manner, as a series of courtly dances, though the A minor Suite features a grand and tragic ‘Air in the Italian style’ and concludes with a snappy Polonaise – one of Telemann’s favourite dance rhythms – reeling away like an inspired tavern fiddler.
Erik Bosgraaf’s discography on Brilliant Classics ranges from Vivaldi (BC94637 – now also available on LP) to Boulez (BC94842), not to mention two previous sets of Telemann – the solo fantasias (BC93757) and sonatas with basso continuo (BC95247) – as well as more rarely encountered delights by Jakob van Eyck (BC93391). These discs and others have garnered both popular attention and critical praise. Of Bosgraaf’s own, composer-approved transcription of the Dialogue de l’ombre double by Boulez, Gramophone commented that ‘balance between recorders and electronics is ideally judged, giving this music an immediacy yet also intimacy beyond that of any other recorded option.’
Closer to the recorder’s natural home in music several centuries earlier, Julie Anne Sadie wrote in the same magazine about Bosgraaf’s ‘magical version of the ubiquitous Four Seasons. ‘A carefully researched and arrestingly translucent chamber interpretation… the rapport between solo and ripieno forces is simply fabulous.’
In preparation of the Telemann-year 2017 (250 years after his death) Erik Bosgraaf presents his first CD of the Recorder Concertos, and a triumph it is: “Exhilarating!” (Elsevier), “This man is a miracle…virtuosity, lightness, beauty and fun, he has it all” (Groene Amsterdammer), “5 stars, recorder-wonder Bosgraaf levitates Telemann” (Volkskrant).
Erik Bosgraaf is one of the most remarkable recorder players of today. Equally at home in early as well as contemporary music he extends the limits of his instrument, achieving an extreme range of expression and unheard-of effects. He travels the world, giving his unorthodox concerts combining the old and the new, in his own inimitable way.
Bosgraaf and his musical partner Francesco Corti already successfully recorded Telemann’s recorder sonatas, Brilliant Classics 95247.