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The Musical Treasures of Leufste Bruk
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Violin Concerto in B flat Major, La Caccia RV 362 [7.27]
Christoph SCHAFFRATH (1709-1763) Duetto IV for cello and harpsichord [12.56]
Benedetto MARCELLO (1686-1739) Sonata VI for cello and harpsichord [8.36]
Johann Christoph PEPUSCH (1667-1752) Concerto 1 for two Flutes, two oboes and continuo [9.05]
William CORBETT (1675-1748) Sonata No. 4 for two Violins, and continuo [6.22]
Conrad Friedrich HURLEBUSCH (c.1695-1765) Ouverture for solo harpsichord [11.55]
Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Concerto in G minor for solo violin, strings and continuo [15.51]
From a Collection of Boere Danssen for various instruments and harpsichord
Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble
rec. Leufste Church, Leufste Bruk, Sweden, September 2005
BIS-CD-1526 [79.29]

If only I could think of a modern day musical equivalent of the Baron Charles De Geer - historian, leader of an industrial empire, noted scientist and a man with a passion for music. I will quote the excellent booklet notes by Göran Blomberg “When De Geer arrived from the
Netherlands, in the early 18th Century to accede to the entailed estate of Leuste he brought with him a large collection of music. Together with his son he continued to collect music during his time” and so may I emphasize that this is music written mostly by their own contemporaries. 

The collection illuminatingly contains music by what we might call local composers, less well known figures from the Low Countries and Germany. These include as Schaffrath and Hurlebusch. There are also pieces by leading international figures such as Vivaldi and Tartini, popular then as now. We also have a set of Dutch dances, the anonymous ‘Boere Danssen’ published in Amsterdam which use popular tunes of the period, played here interestingly with differing instrumental combinations. Therefore this collection displays to us the Baron’s eclectic taste which is excellently illustrated in this generously filled and superbly performed CD. Many of these pieces are unknown and recorded here for the first time.

The ‘modern’ Concerto which came out of Italy is represented by Vivaldi’s quite often recorded three movement work in his most descriptive manner. Tartini figures also with his four movement concerto representing a virtuoso element in the outer movements which even today seems to put off many a performer. Early baroque chamber music appears from William Corbett an Englishman who settled in Holland. Corbett’s  sonata for two violins utilizes the old style continuo bass as harmonic support. Pepusch was well known in England and made a considerable contribution to the music of the ’Beggars Opera’. In addition he was interested, as was Corbett, in ancient music. Apparently he possessed a copy of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and owned a valuable collection of old instruments. 

No one could say that these pieces are especially significant in the overall scheme of things but they represent good quality middle class and aristocratic fare, well written, easily assimilated and pleasing for performer and listener alike. The selection is typical of the period, and none the worse for that.

The Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble, pictured within, was formed well over thirty years ago and plays on period instruments. Their experience and personality shine through in these confident, infectious and radiant performances making one feel that the music comes to far more than its component parts. I like especially the use of a strong attack with the bow in climactic forte passages in the Vivaldi concerto, creating a sense of exciting articulation. I also appreciated the careful use of vibrato in expressive passages in slow movements. The woodwind playing is likewise felicitous and the whole disc comes out as a civilized and yet passionate presentation, demonstrating why this fascinating period needs to be investigated with even greater clarity.

The recording is up to the usual exceptional standard attained by Bis: clear, natural and bright with a wide spectrum and excellent balance.

Gary Higginson





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