Baroque expert Jordi Savall makes his long-awaited Concertgebouworkest debut conducting four irresistible masterpieces. Bach’s Third Orchestral Suite and Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks are heard alongside festive music by Rameau and Geminiani.
Music bursting with energy, sparkling strings, flaming horns and shrieking woodwinds
Jordi Savall, a leading icon of historical performance, is conducting the Concertgebouworkest for the very first time. The Catalan conductor is leading the orchestra in upbeat party music from the eighteenth century.
Of Bach’s four suites for orchestra, the Third Orchestral Suite is the best known. The overture is followed by four movements, most of which are dances. The majestic, joyful, solemn and dynamic movements make for pleasant, first-rate listening.
The French were very fond of dance music and instrumental suites. Jean-Philippe Rameau filled his operas with instrumental dances and interludes which he would programme as concert suites on festive occasions. Since the wind plays a leading role in Les Boréades, the suite is made up of airy, whirling dances.
In 1749, the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which brought an end to the War of the Austrian Succession, was to be celebrated in London with a royal fireworks display. Court composer George Frideric Handel wrote the Music for the Royal Fireworks specially for the occasion. Owing to high winds, the fireworks proved a failure, but Handel’s suite was an immediate success, and is still well loved to this day. This is music which is literally bursting with energy, sparkling strings, flaming horns and shrieking woodwinds – truly thrilling, festive music.
Francesco Geminiani, incidentally, was just as famous in England as Handel was. One of his most popular works is the Concerto Grosso in which the follia, a dance from Portugal, plays a central role.