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The third movement from Telemann’s Concerto for Three Oboes et al. in B-Flat, here deftly performed by Simon Standage and Collegium Musicum 90.  My home  library performance is the one by Reinhart Goebel with Musica Antiqua Köln.  It’s pretty similar, if a bit more lively.

Regular friends of the decanter will know that ol’ Robbo is a Period Instrument Performance shark and that he feels that one of the few bright spots in this otherwise miserable age in which we find ourselves is the way in which so much excellent musick has come back to life through this PIP treatment, rayther like the re-blooming of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel after all the grime and grit and whatnot was scrubbed off.    Not only are well-known works by composers like Bach and Handel given a fresh look, whole reams of musick by heretofore more obscure composers such as Heineken and Neruda are brought back from the dead.  (Full disclosure:  Robbo would much rayther listen to the most C-3 Baroque piece than anything but the best of the best from any other discrete period.)

Telemann, to me, occupies something of a unique position in all this.  He is large enough in musickal history that he never completely disappeared from the repertoire,   yet his works are singularly unsuitable to the performance practices and orchestral hefts of the 19th and 20th Centuries.   I recall a record (shut up) from some “Historickal Society” group that the Old Gentleman had of some Bach and Telemann pieces.  The Bach held up but the Telemann did not.  The result was that I grew up really not liking Telemann.

Until I came across recordings such as these, that is.

I bring all this up because the local classickal station, which is otherwise pretty decent about avoiding such things, has on its play-list a recording of this particular piece featuring Wynton Marsalis transposing the oboes to trumpet and over-dubbing all three parts, backed up by Raymond Leppard and the English Chamber Orchestra.  It is, for want of a better description, a complete abomination.   I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Marsalis’ musickal abilities, but he has not the faintest conception of Baroque performance.  Nor, for that matter, does Leppard.  (When I was young, I had a recording of ol’ Ray and the ECO performing Handel’s “Water” Musick.  I look back in shame.)

Anyhoo, whenever the station spins this particular CD, my toes begin to curl involuntarily and my teeth begin to grind.  They also sometimes play the Musica Antiqua Köln recording, so it’s not as if they don’t know.  I’m sure they run the Marsalis/Leppard version just to whore after new, ignorant listeners.

Therefore, when  I become Emperor of the World, one of my many charges will be the rounding up and destroying of every copy of this Marsalis/Leppard performance, together with any other modern, jim-crack version that displeases me.

Oh, it’s going to be a busy, busy Imperial reign…..


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November 2013