CD review: Ashley Solomon plays Telemann

First published in the Guardian on 20 July, 2017

Telemann: Fantasias for solo flute
Ashley Solomon (Channel)

I restarted the first piece on this album about 20 times because the sound of Ashley Solomon’s opening note, played on a granadilla wooden flute modelled on an instrument from 1750 , is just so astonishing. It’s very warm, very grainy, so broad and breathy that it sounds more like a low recorder than a modern flute. Telemann’s Fantasias were meant for instruction as well as performance and they’re a test and a bounty for flautists, a tangle of freewheeling challenges that can easily come a-cropper in lesser hands. Solomon makes them dance and sing. He makes them spacious. The articulation is immaculate; the rhythms are buoyant; the recording quality, done in big church acoustics, is immediate and generous. Solomon doesn’t play the whole thing on granadilla – we get flutes of porcelain and ivory, both instruments made in 1760, both full of charisma.