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Beauté Barbare

Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien/François Lazarevitch (Alpha Classics)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Beauté Barbare
Anon: Suite from Uhrovska’s manuscript; Nisko słonko; Dyž sem šla z kostela etc; Telemann: Concerto in D major, TWV 51:d2; Ouverture-Suite, TWV 55 – excerpts; The Rostock Manuscript, TWV 45; Trio No. 3 in B minor, TWV 42:H2 etc.
Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien/François Lazarevitch
Alpha Classics ALPHA 949   62:40 mins


Telemann’s love affair with central-European folk music is well known and well documented. The composer himself recalled the ‘barbaric beauty’ of Polish folk music which he had encountered during his first appointment as Hofkapellmeister to Count Erdmann II of Promnitz in Moravia. The colours and rhythms of this music had a deep and lasting effect on Telemann and informed his own compositions, on and off, almost throughout his life. Flautist François Lazarevitch and Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien have assembled a programme whose skilfully wrought tangents and juxtapositions serve to highlight the folk influence on Telemann’s craft.

Other groups, such as Holland Baroque, Orkiestra Czasów Zarazy, Ensemble Caprice and Rebel have explored this fascinating territory before, but it is Lazarevitch and his équipe, perhaps, who most imaginatively recreate the Beauté Barbare of the album’s title. Several of the pieces are drawn piecemeal from his trio sonatas and ouverture-suites, only one item, the Concerto in D major, TWV 51:D2 being performed in its entirety. What a splendid performance it is, underlining the all-pervasive influence of Polish rhythms and piquant Hanakian flavour. As soloist, Lazarevitch plays transverse flute and what sounds unmistakeably like a recorder in the second and fourth movements. Here and elsewhere the cimbalom, played by small hand-held hammers, occupies an indispensable role.

Of considerable interest are three pieces by Telemann from the Rostock University Library manuscript, discovered in 1987 and containing Polish dances by ‘Tellemann’. Oddly omitted is the concluding Presto of the E minor Concerto for recorder and flute, one of the most folk music influenced movements of all.


Nicholas Anderson