Suomalainen barokkiorkesteri. Photo: Juuso Westerlund.
Sun 11.10.2020 klo 18 The German Church, Helsinki
Helsinki Early Music Festival

The Dancing Europe

The Final Concert of the Festival

Purcell–Lully–Telemann–Vivaldi–Rebel

Roman Schatz, narrator
Finnish Baroque Orchestra
Georg Kallweit, violin and leading

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Everywhere, dancing is part of life. Ever since mankind learned how to produce sounds and music with instruments, dancing has been present. Today, before, always and everywhere – and not only in Europe. “Dancing is the poetry of the feet”, declared John Dryden. At the same time, dancing is part of all forms of societal life. Families both on the countryside and in the cities have danced at baptism celebrations, weddings and funerals. In the European courts, dancing was an important part of the representative life – charming movements according to sophisticated rules was a key thing when it comes to cultural education. 

France was the great kingdom of dancing, especially during the time of the Sun King, Louis XIV. His court was copied by many smaller European courts. The musical super star of the Sun King court was Jean-Baptiste Lully. Out of his compositions, a series from the comédie-ballet Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (The Bourgeois Gentleman) has been chosen for this concert. 

A demonstrative example of the program of the evening is Jean-Féry Rebel’s Les Caractères de la danse (The characteristics of dancing). It reminds one of a sounding catalogue where 11 popular dances are presented, each in a prototype kind of short version. The genius piece was performed by the famous dancer Françoise Prévost, who toured Europe with his strong performance like a pop star of our time.

Georg Philipp Telemann cannot under any circumstances be left out of the program. His production is of great importance not only because he was a master of the French dance style and a representative of that, but also because he was playful and cherished the influences he had gotten from other parts of Europe. In his series Les Nations (The Nations) Telemann combines his chosen dances with specific nations. With the power of joyful and friendly irony, the lame and limp, meaning the Turkish, Swiss and Russians, are sent to the dance floor. 

The concert offers a musical journey through the dancing Europe, its typical and most natural dances, and tells lively about what has lasted in written form, like studies researching dances and other books explaining rules of this wonderful theme. 

Duration: 1 h 15 min (no intermission)

See the full list of special arrangements during the times of Covid-19 here.

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