Telemann: Polonoise
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Telemann: Polonoise

Holland Baroque, Aisslinn Nosky

The players of Holland Baroque continue their PENTATONE journey with Polonoise, a programme for curious listeners who want to discover a different side of Telemann. His manuscript Danses d Polonie (TWV 45), in which he wrote down the dance music he heard during his Polish travels, was the impetus for this album. Taking this as a point of departure, Holland Baroque and violinist Aisslinn Nosky explore how Telemann applied the Polish style in his own works. Polonoise takes the listener on an imaginary journey to the wild nature, the slopes and the picturesque village taverns of Poland. Arranged by the ensemble’s artistic leaders Judith and Tineke Steenbrink, Telemann’s Polish concertos and dances sound brisker than ever before.

Holland Baroque is an original and innovative baroque orchestra that approaches baroque repertoire through a fresh and contemporary approach, with a focus on improvisation and collaborations with outstanding artists from different traditions. Polonoise is their second PENTATONE release, after their well-received Silk Baroque (2019), together with Wu Wei. Aisslinn Nosky, one of the most pioneering and adventurous violinists of the Northern-American early music scene, makes her PENTATONE debut.

Review

Holland Baroque is a self-described ‘original and innovative baroque orchestra’ who characterise their latest offering, Telemann: Polonoise, as ‘a programme for curious listeners who want to discover a different side of Telemann’.

In 1704 young German composer Georg Philipp Telemann was appointed chapelmaster in the Polish town of Zary, where he gradually became acquainted with the local folk music. He heard fiddles, bagpipes and regals sounding together at once and recalled in his diary: ‘It is hard to believe how wonderful the ideas of those pipers and fiddlers are when, during a break in the dancing, they begin to improvise. Listening to them with attention, in eight days a man could collect enough musical ideas for his whole life!’ Telemann’s resultant music – 30 dances from the manuscript Danse d’Polonie – provides the basis for this album.

Judith and Tineke Steenbrink, artistic leaders of Holland Baroque, have arranged excerpts of Telemann’s Polish-inspired music, which is delivered with verve by the ensemble, under the directorship of violinist Aisslinn Nosky. The dances themselves are toe-tappingly vivacious, and one can hear echoes of bagpipes and regals within the textures created by the predominantly string baroque ensemble. Moments of elegance are interspersed throughout, such as during the Quartet in G Major.


Alexandra Mathew is a bookseller at Readings State Library Victoria.

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