Baroque inspirations from remote cultures
Gottfried von der Goltz, violin and leader
Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Baroque composers did not travel to New York, and certainly not to places like Hawaii – all in all, they did not tend to travel much, with a few rare exceptions. Nevertheless, distant countries, regions and people still captured the imagination of 17th and 18th-century composers. Colonisation and the beginning of international trade roused interest in other cultures and also brought them a little closer to the European continent. This gave rise to numerous compositions that respectfully brought foreign cultures to life on stage.
The most well-known example of this development must be Jean-Philippe Rameau’s opera Les Indes galantes. The ballet-opera premiered in 1735 and quickly became a crowd magnet, in no small part due to the manner in which it exhibited distant cultures. The opera takes place not only in India but also in Turkey, North America and Peru. Another work set in Peru is Henry Purcell’s unfinished semi-opera The Indian Queen. Purcell’s composition was inspired by John Dryden’s play of the same name. It centres on the emotional life of Queen Zempoalla, superbly depicted by Purcell also in the instrumental pieces of the opera.
Duration: 1 h 30 min (incl. intermission)