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Among the huge body of works composed by Telemann during his years as director of music in Hamburg (1721– 67), occasional pieces serving a wide variety of purposes have a significant role. The works on this beguiling two- CD set were composed for the golden wedding celebrations in 1732 of Matthias Mutzenberger, an influential member of Hamburg society. Telemann composed an oratorio for the church blessing of the couple, and for the banquet that followed a serenata in which allegorical figures (love, fertility etc) celebrate the anniversary. Both works are scored for a group of six solo singers and substantial orchestral forces, including timpani and trumpets in the oratorio and chalumeaux in the serenata. As befits the occasion, Telemann’s music is largely brightly cheerful and ingenuously unpretentious, demanding on neither performers nor the ear of the listener. Hermann Max has long and impressive experience with this kind of repertoire, here leading a young and engaging team of soloists in idiomatic performances of great charm and total integrity, while drawing polished playing from his Das Kleine Konzert. This is not essential Telemann, but it does provide a fascinating glimpse of a rather special Hamburg celebration in which this listener, at least, is only too happy to share.

Brian Robins Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing