(Click a photo for a larger version. There is a sound clip for each instrument.)
Biographies: the competition was open to all ages, and entrants were judged anonymously. The twenty selected performers were mainly advanced students or young professionals from four continents. In the booklet they describe their careers so far, and their experiences of recording in lockdown.
The programme notes are as a 52-page booklet, 12cm x 18cm. Here is George Caird's Introduction:
"This album celebrates the unique qualities of twelve solo Fantasias, originally for the flute but now played on a huge range of instruments. It has also become a Phoenix, rising from the ashes of the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, when live concerts and ensemble music first became beyond us.
"From this crisis, many players of wind instruments found themselves drawn back to the extraordinary riches of these twelve short works. They are the answer to the Bach cello suites, they are musical gems, technical gymnasiums, tonal guides and imaginative playgrounds.
"In July 2020 the webinar A Tribute to Telemann's Fantasias brought together 500 people from across the world to play and discuss the Fantasias. The creative scope of these great works became ever more apparent, and an open competition was set up "to encourage as many players as possible to explore these works in new and striking ways. Interpretations of the dance movements, realisation of the musical imagery, approaches to articulation, sonority, and the characterisation of the music itself will all be taken into account." Between October 2020 and February 2021, 105 recorded applications were submitted and here the winners are presented as a collection of views on these great works, written in Hamburg in the 1720s.
"Performances on the album are ordered to savour the qualities of the music rather than in Fantasia order. Some are repeated on different instruments by way of contrast, and there is something from each Fantasia.
"Across nearly three hundred years, we find ourselves sharing Telemann's great idea - one player on one instrument exploring the power of music. I can't help feeling that he would be amazed and delighted at the attention his music is receiving in the 21st century."
Uchenna Ngwe, Double Reed News (UK)
"The album includes twenty of over one hundred self-recorded interpretations submitted in an open competition between October 2020 and February 2021. As well as testimony to the value of Telemann's pieces as inspirational starting points for creativity, the CD comes with revelatory program notes by [George] Caird who probes the pieces' history and provides an in-depth analysis."
Geoffrey Burgess, The Double Reed (US)
"The accompanying booklet is a work of love and scholarship in its own right. Did George Caird really play these Fantasias in the Departure Lounge at Schiphol?" Andrew Polmear [relation], Brighton, UK