Don Quixote and other tales
Hanna Haapamäki, recorder and traverso
Finnish Baroque Orchestra
Literature and novel characters have always inspired countless composers. The Spanish novel about the rascal Don Quixote (1605/1615) by Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) belongs to the classics of world literature, and the action-packed storyline inspired also Georg Philipp Telemann. He even took on the book twice, in the form of an orchestral suite and an opera. The overture Burlesque de Quichotte vividly describes the key events and main characters Don Quixote, Sancho Panza and Princess Dulcinea.
Another writer that influenced many composers was the Englishman William Shakespeare (1564–1616). His play A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595/1596) was the source of inspiration for Felix Mendelssohn’s orchestral piece bearing the same name, among others. Shakespeare’s fellow countryman Henry Purcell composed his masque The Fairy Queen to a libretto based on the play.
Stories can inspire the music, but the music itself is often surrounded by countless legends. Georg Friedrich Händel’s orchestral work Water Music was performed in London in 1717 on a barge floating up River Thames in the rising tide. The river was filled with boats and the city’s residents crowded the waterside. King George I, who travelled on another barge, was so pleased with the music that he demanded it be played again and again both on the outward and the return journey. There is surely nobody left to tell how many times the piece was played that night…
The echoes of water and gondolas floating on rivers can also be observed in the music of the Venetian Antonio Vivaldi. One of the most well-known pieces of his broad production is the Concert in C major for sopranino recorder.
Duration: 1 h 30 min (incl. intermission)