CD review: Aisha Orazbayeva deconstructs Telemann’s Fantasies

First published in the Guardian on 17 November, 2016

Telemann: Fantasies
Aisha Orazbayeva (PRAH)

This was never going to be a straight-up rendition of Georg Philipp Telemann’s baroque fantasias, not when the performer in question is Aisha Orazbayeva. The London-based Kazakh violinist specialises in fearless confrontational ventures into postwar modernism and the avant-garde of now; unsurprising that her account of Telemann’s 1735 pieces takes the fantasy name at face value and totally reimagines them, fixating on a lonely wisp here, a nasty scrape there. When she does come round to playing the originals (she includes six of the 12 fantasies) they sound impossibly pristine and delicate, precious things lost and self-consciously glittering in a scraggy broken landscape. Orazbayeva first used these Telemann deconstructions for a 2015 Tanztheater Wuppertal dance piece by Tim Etchells called In Terms of Time which the Guardian noted for its absurdist ritual and truncated communication. I would say the same description applies here.