Friday, December 3, 2010

Musica Antiqua Koln, Goebel - Rebel, Telemann, Gluck







Rebel was a contemporary of Couperin and a pupil of Lully, and it was for a revival of the latter's opera, Cadmus et Hermione that Les Elemens was staged as an afterpiece. Les Elemens is a symphonie de danse or choreographed suite with vivid programmatic content. That much is startlingly evident in the very first bars of the opening section, aJean-Féry Rebel, ca. 1710?, drawing by Antoine Watteau, Musée Magnin, Dijon (France). representation of Chaos in which all the notes of the harmonic scale are united in a single cluster of sound. Reinhard Goebel and his Cologne Musica Antiqua have always revelled in this kind of extrovert gesture and from the moment of their premier coup d'archet, of which these musicians have so often proved latter-day masters, the listener is captivated by Rebel's often astonishing charivari. The remainder of the suite is harmonically plain sailing though, again, Rebel proves himself well up to maintaining a lively musical interest. Each element has its own distinguishing features, Earth recognizable by its tied bass notes, Water by athletic passagework on the flutes, Air by reiterated piccolo trills, and Fire by sparkling upper string passagework.

What a contrast exists between the alluring superficial charm of Rebel's suite and the Telemann sonata which follows. For though the idiom retains a distinctly French bias, the spirit of the piece has a seriousness of purpose which deeply penetrates the elegant rococo veneer of his trios and quartets. E minor was a rewarding key for Telemann and so it proves here in some beautifully sustained writing for violin, oboe, two violas and cello with bassoon, violone and harpsichord. This is the work's first appearance on disc, though I first heard it some five years ago when Goebel brought it to London's Lufthansa Baroque Festival. Goebel has greatly refined his performance in the meantime.

Lastly, in a particularly attractive mixed programme, comes ballet music by Gluck. Alessandro or Les amours d'Alexandre et de Roxane was first performed in Vienna in 1764 but has evident French connections and affinities. The music is delightful and was completely new to me. Its eight movements are effectively varied and deftly orchestrated, with some characteristic Gluckian sounds among the horns and bassoons. By far the most substantial movement is the concluding Chaconne, an impressive piece of writing with commanding interventions by trumpets and drums.

Altogether, this is a most appealing release, well equipped to suit a wide variety of tastes. Excellent recorded sound and a typically animated essay by Goebel merely added to my enjoyment. -- Nicholas Anderson, Gramophone


flac, covers


  1. I have learned..The new ones are much better.

  2. The links on filefactory seem not to be available....please reupload if possible, because this is a great disc! thanks....



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