'Galant pleasures' seems an apt description for this release, which presents a charming selection of works written for the mandolin in 18th-century Paris. Indeed, it was around this time that a number of plucked instruments came into vogue, and the mandolin in particular found great success among the nobility and middle classes, taking part in an atmosphere of intellect and refinement that prompted a new artistic direction in music of the period, revolutionising audiences' tastes and sensibilities along the way.
The London Baroque's traversal of the Baroque trio sonata across its various developments over time and into diverse national styles enters somewhat arcane territory here with a program of English trio sonatas of the 18th century. The program is chronological, at least by publication (the Op. 5 set of trio sonatas by Handel, though published in 1759, was assembled from earlier music from a variety of genres), and the pieces represented run from one of the first English examples of the trio sonata to Classical-style music in which the harpsichord continuo is almost superfluous.
London Baroque offers another installment in its ongoing European Trio Sonata series, this time devoted to 18th-century Italy; as with the ensemble’s previous efforts the program features generally excellent performances of lesser-known repertoire. Ten years ago I reviewed a similar 18th-century Italian program by this same group titled “Stravaganze Napoletane”, also on BIS, and was generally impressed with the performances–except for one piece: Domenico Gallo’s Sonata No. 1 in G major.
"…Before 1840, there were limited written sources of folk music in Norway. Originally these historical attainments were believed to have a distinct Christian influence. As research continued, there was also mythical and fairy tale connections to the folk music. Overall the purpose of folk music was for entertainment and dancing. Norwegian folk music may be divided into two categories: instrumental and vocal. As a rule instrumental folk music is dance music (slåtter). Norwegian folk dances are social dances and usually performed by couples, although there are a number of solo dances as well, such as the halling. Norway has very little of the ceremonial dance characteristic of other cultures. Dance melodies may be broken down into two types: two-beat and three-beat dances. The former are called halling, gangar or rull, whereas the latter are springar or springleik…"
Frans Brüggen (* Amsterdam 30-10-1934 - † Amsterdam 13-08-2014). Bruggen brings the music to life admirably capturing both the grandeur and sparkle of the music. His acute rhythmic sense brings great rewards to these performances and Haydn certainly gives his interpreters plenty to think about in this direction.
It goes without saying that Telemann had a thorough command of the French and Italian styles. Countless ensembles, including ours, have played such pieces. In ‘Barbaric Beauty’ we follow a completely different path by focussing on Telemann's Polish style. At least, this is how he described the pieces he wrote after discovering the music played along the Polish-Hungarian border. It was at the beginning of his career, when he was just 25 years old, that he heard sounds that were to inspire him throughout his life.