This lovely CD goes on the selling point that they’re anonymous works, but good for all that. The music is from the Schranck II, the music collection of the Saxon State and University Library in Dresden.
This treasure trove includes many anonymous compositions produced “in creative ecstasy” but omitting the name of the author. Some have been identified but the authorship of works found in this collection, seven concertos scored for flute, violin, violoncello, and continuo, are unknown. The sleeve notes (not anonymous — they’re harpsichordist Ludger Remy) compare the music to a fake Breguet watch; the fake itself is beautiful and collectible, its nameless creator still making a piece of art. Some experts have tried to say Telemann had a hand in this music but Remy likes the idea of anonymity, rebelling against the idea that everything should be labelled and identifiable.
This is music that’s meant to be listening to and enjoyed. There’s nothing challenging about it. In places it’s reminiscent of the kind of music you’d hear people dancing to in a lavish costume drama; in other places it’s the music a BBC documentary would use as an art boffin wandered round a gallery in Florence admiring the work. It’s sophisticated and smooth, and the sleeve notes say that it’s 18th century entertainment at its best.
Some might find it a little undemanding — it’s probably the soft rock of its day — but it is enjoyable, either as background music or to listen to more closely and relax.
Les Amis de Philippe strive to be somewhere between chamber ensemble and large orchestra and their members include Scot Gregor Anthony, cellist and viola da gamba player. Out now on CPO, 777780-2.