Hyperion Records

Festive Suite in A major

'Baroque Christmas Music' (CDH55048)
Baroque Christmas Music
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55048  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Christmas through the ages' (NOEL1)
Christmas through the ages
MP3 £4.50FLAC £4.50ALAC £4.50 NOEL1  Super-budget price sampler — Download only  
Movement 1: Ouverture
Movement 2: Marche
Movement 3: Plainte
Movement 4: Gavotte
Track 6 on NOEL1 [3'54] Super-budget price sampler — Download only
Track 4 on CDH55048 [4'32] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 5: Passepied: Rundtanz
Movement 6: Gigue

Festive Suite in A major
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767), the most prolific composer in the history of music, is said to have written 600 suites and overtures in response to the insatiable demand for French culture in Northern Germany during the early years of the eighteenth century. The French style is displayed strongly in the dotted opening sections of his ouvertures and also in the style and names (Rondeau, Sarabande, Gigue, etc) of the succeeding movements of most of them. Adolf Hoffmann’s thematic catalogue of Telemann’s orchestral suites (Möseler-Verlag, 1969) lists 137 surviving examples, many including wind instruments (some with concerto-like responsibility), but the majority—some 75—are for string band alone, and it is into this category that the Festliche Suite falls. It is scored simply for first and second violins and bass, to which, of course, a continuo harpsichord is added.

The grandly posturing ‘French’ Introduction enfolds a light dancing section in 3/8 metre that avoids the customary fugal writing to be found in the most typical fast sections of such movements. There follows an energetic Marche and Plainte whose nature seems more to provide contrast than to lament some great tragedy. The central section of the next movement, Gavotte, is entitled Gavotte Il en Musette, and it is here that Telemann suggests the French bagpipe, or musette: a sighing melody with piquant pauses, the whole over a drone bass. The instrument known as the musette was immensely popular during Louis XIV’s reign to depict rustic and pastoral scenes and, by association therefore, the watching shepherds of the Nativity. A Passepied and double (i.e. variation, in this instance for solo violin) follows, and the Festliche Suite closes with a Gigue in 6/4 time.

from notes by Robert Dearling © 1999

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