The Chronicle

This rather lovely and delicate new album is from Divine Art and is the first instalment of an ambitious new project, to record baroque works on some of the world’s most historic instruments.

For volume one, Peter Sheppard Skaerved is playing a 1570 Amati, already 150 years old when Telemann wrote his 12 fantasies for solo violin and 12 fantasies for solo flute. This is the first recording of all 24 together.

Amati was a luthier, from Cremona, Italy, and a top candidate as actual the inventor of the violin. The instrument played here is gut-strung and belongs to Jonathan Sparey and is on loan to the collection of the Royal Academy of Music. The music was recorded in the Church of St John the Baptist, Aldbury, Hertfordshire.

This work seems very personal to the violinist and he dedicates it to Guy Gallo, who died this year, and whose words are on the sleeve, lamenting the fact that the “violin has escaped my aging hands” and he can no longer play the fantasies.

Although it’s just one man and his violin, it’s an interesting album. Telemann composed to entertain and the 24 pieces of music take in the sound of dance and folk, and even, if he wasn’t writing before it was invented, jazz. It’s charming rather than intellectually challenging. Just as the music seems to drift in and out of the silence, the listener can drift in and out of the pieces without the music suffering. A very pleasing album, and the church gives it all a nicely timeless atmosphere. Out now on Divine Art / Athene (ATH23203).

—Jeremy Condliffe