The Suite in B flat major for two oboes and strings from the Troisième Production
is on paper a rather conventional suite, with an Ouverture, a selection of dances (all given the French versions of their titles), and, once again, a Conclusion. With two pairs of relatively equal instruments, oboes and violins, Telemann explores the possibilities inherent in the concertato style. The Ouverture is the longest movement, written in the conventional slow–fast–slow pattern, and given its full repeat structure in this performance; Handel used the fugal theme of the fast section in his Occasional Oratorio
(1746). The first dance, an elegant Bergerie, uses the oboes in their familiar pastoral mode; in the next movement, an energetic Allegresse (marked ‘vite’), Telemann again writes in ternary form, with a contrasting middle section in the minor. Postillons, which Handel borrowed for use in Belshazzar
, is characterized throughout by a rhythmic, syncopated octave leap which appears in all the parts, and has a ‘throw away’ ending. French graces are at their most elegant in the Flaterie; the following Badinage, literally a ‘trifle’ or ‘piece of fun’, is similar to a gavotte, but with the addition of a trio in which the cello has a series of rapidly repeated bass notes. The more conventionally named Menuet that follows also has a contrasting trio section, and its theme provided Max Reger two centuries later with the basis for his set of variations for piano (Op 134). Finally comes the busy Conclusion, marked ‘furioso’: rising arpeggios in the upper strings over a drone bass alternate with an energetic motif which is treated imitatively. The two ideas alternate until, as a final flippant gesture to such bubbling music, the suite has another lighthearted throw away ending.
from notes by Robert King © 1989