The Norwegian Baroque

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Program: #10-01   Air Date: Jan 03, 2010

Before some weeks of Handel and the Italians, we turn to Georg van Bertouch (1668-1743), a German warrior who came to Oslo (where he took over the Akershus Castle), and created the "modern" music scene in Norway; and young trumpet soloist Tine Thing Helseth, whose new recording includes concertos by Albinoni. These programs are made possible in part by support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C. For more information about Norwegian cultural events in the United States or for travel and tourist information, you may consult:

I. Georg von Bertouch--Trio Sonatas (Bergen Baroque) Toccata/Norsk Kulturråd CD TOCC 0006.

For more information:

From Patric Standford:

Baroque enthusiasts should be delighted to discover the music of Georg von Bertouch (1668-1743), a name perhaps better known in Norway, though even there only among informed devotees of chamber music. Bertouch was born in Germany into a titled Protestant family which then emigrated to avoid Catholic authority. As a youth he studied violin with Telemann's father-in-law and made the acquaintance of Bach's cousin Johann Nicolaus, and it was during his travels in Italy with this companion that he accepted a post as steward to a Danish general's family and began a career in the Danish army that saw him through 22 major battles, retiring as a lieutenant-general at the grand age of 72. But during that long and active life, he was also able to establish himself as an influential violinist, composer and conductor, attracting the high praise of the distinguished German composer and critic Johann Mattheson who included him with Handel and a dozen others in his analysis of all that was best in contemporary music at the time.

The ensemble Bergen Barokk presents clear and lively performances of seven of the 24 Sonatas -- he wrote one in each key around 1738, barely a couple of decades after Bach's similar keyboard experiment. Bertouch faced different challenges by using instruments other than the harpsichord. They are conceived in terms of the 'trio sonata', and the interpretations on this disc are designed to demonstrate the various instrumental possibilities that may be applied to the pieces by interchanging wind and string instrumental combinations as suggested by Corelli, Quantz and others, with one Sonata (No 17 in E flat) with an impressive Largo opening movement given to the harpsichord alone. They are imaginative and fresh with inventiveness, lending themselves well to the various groupings -- No 8 in G with two violins; No 11 in F with violin and recorder and No 14 in G minor given a refreshing buoyancy with recorder, flute and viola da gamba.
Separating the Bertouch Sonatas, Bergen Barokk has included six pieces from the Mestmacher Manuscript, an anthology of 261 short pieces dating from about 1730 and belonging to a Bergen merchant's family. The origins of the pieces are unknown, though an Aria upon which the Ensemble have created their own variations has been attributed to Lully and holds a place still today as 'The Song of Bergen."

--Trio Sonata for 2 violins & continuo No. 8 in G Major
--March, for viola da gamba, recorder & continuo, No. 106 (Music-Book of Jacob Mestmacher)
--Aria, for viola da gamba, recorder & continuo, No. 248 (Music-Book of Jacob Mestmacher)
--Trio Sonata for 2 violins & continuo No. 15 in F minor
--Paspie de la Compertanje, for harpsichord (Music-Book of Jacob Mestmacher)
--Trio Sonata for recorder, violin & cello No. 11 in F major
--Menuetto, for viola da gamba, recorder & continuo, No. 13 (Music-Book of Jacob Mestmacher)
--Gavotte, for viola da gamba & continuo, No. 53 (Music-Book of Jacob Mestmacher)
--Sonata for recorder & continuo No. 21 in B flat minor
--Sonata for keyboard No. 17 in E flat major
--Trio Sonata for 2 violins & continuo No. 12 in D minor
--Allegro et Trio, for viola da gamba, recorder & continuo, No. 166 (Music-Book of Jacob Mestmacher)

II. Tine Thing Helseth--Trumpet Concertos (Tine Thing Helseth, Trumpet/Norwegian Chamber Orchestra/Atle Sponberg, leader). Simax CD PSC 1292.

For information:

--TOMASO ALBINONI (1671-1751): Oboe Concerto in Bb (transcr. for Trumpet), Op. 7, No. 3.
--JOHANN BAPTIST GEORG NERUDA (c.1707-c.1780): Trumpet Concerto in Eb

Composer Info

Georg van Bertouch (1668-1743)

CD Info

CD TOCC 0006, CD PSC 1292

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