Concert Programs

Historically Informed Performance on Period Instruments since 1985

Greg Dikmans - baroque flute

Greg Dikmans

Photo: Leonard Szabliński (2013)


Lucinda Moon

Photo: Leonard Szabliński (2013)

Dialogue: The Art of Elegant Conversation

For several years Greg and Lucinda have focused on the rich and varied genre of the 18th-century instrumental duet. They have been presenting concerts exploring the theme of Dialogue: The Art of Elegant Conversation.

In much of the more intimate 18th-century chamber music the melodic lines interact in a continuous musical dialogue, which was sometimes described as a conversation galante (‘courteous conversation’).

The programs include rarely performed, high-quality chamber music from the Baroque and early-Classical periods. Some of the composers are not so well-known today, but in the 18th-century were deservedly considered among the best of their time. Some programs include a harpsichord and/or cello to expand the scope of the repertoire. Composers include:

  • Johann Joachim Quantz
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
  • Georg Philipp Telemann
  • Johann Georg Pisendel
  • Franz Benda
  • Jacques Hotteterre ‘le Romain’
  • Joseph Bodin de Boismortier
  • Michel Blavet
  • André Chéron
  • Joseph Haydn

The 5 concerts in the 2012 Melbourne Concert Series were built around this theme of Dialogue: The Art of Elegant Conversation.

Dialogue: The Art of Elegant Conversation

Elder Hall, University of Adelaide — 3 June 2011

The light, breezy allegro of the Duetto in G major [by Quantz] was an excellent starter and a short larghetto launched into a lively presto finale.

The C major Duetto has a beautiful and lengthy slow movement aptly marked affettuoso, while the impressive Duetto in E minor is a tour de force as music for two matched instruments goes, with a dramatic introduction leading into a rhythmically vital allabreve.

The Fanatise in B minor (flute) and the Fantasie in F major (violin) [by Telemann] allowed the players to shine, weaving and ducking, lingering and soldiering on, a perfect match for the music.

Peter Burdon – The Advertiser (Adelaide, 11 June 2011)

The following example concert programs are based on programs presented in the Elysium Ensemble’s Melbourne Concert Series. The programs on the ensemble‘s recordings also make excellent concerts.

Programs can be tailored to almost any theme, occasion (e.g. birth or death of a composer) or concert series.

Note: with the addition of a guest singer (soprano or tenor) we can also include some excellent chamber cantatas by Louis-Nicolas Clérambault and Johann Sebastian Bach.

Parisian Soirée

This program invites the listener to experience the atmosphere of the salons in pre-revolutionary Paris through the music that was heard in that environment. The works presented reflect the new ideas in style and taste that is properly called Rococo. This term was originally applied to a style of architectural decoration that originated in France in the late-17th century, born of a relaxation of the rules of French classicism, rather than as a consequence of influence of the Italian Baroque.

Telemann made a triumphant visit to Paris in 1737. He was at the height of his fame in Germany, but still lacked international recognition and to achieve that he had to succeed in Paris. For this visit he composed his justly famous ‘Paris Quartets’. He realised his music had to adapt itself to the taste of the Paris salons and concerts, as well as flatter the musicians who performed it and provide enough originality to keep the interest of the quickly satiated society. With the Nouveuax Quatuors Telemann not only fulfilled these aims, but also produced some of the finest chamber music written in Europe in the first half of the 18th century. The quartets combine elements of the French, Italian and German styles (the goûts-réünis) and many of the movements clearly point to the new galant style that was to be brought to its culmination in the works of Haydn and Mozart.

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
‘Paris’ Quartet in A minor
from Nouveaux Quatuors en six suites (Paris, 1738)

Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764)
Sonata VIII à trois in G major
from Second livre de sonates (Paris, c1728)

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
Cinquième Concert
from Pièces de clavecin en concert (Paris, 1741)

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
‘Paris’ Quartet in E minor
from Nouveaux Quatuors en six suites (Paris, 1738)

Récréation de Musique

Musical recreations, or diversions, were a regular feature of the cultural life of 17th- and 18th-century France. The music in this program displays the intimacy, delicacy, refinement and, above all, the douceur (‘sweetness’) of the chamber music written during the age of Louis XIV and Louis XV. François Couperin (harpsichord), Jacques Hotteterre (flute), Jean-Féry Rebel (violin), Marin Marais (bass viol) and Jean-Marie Leclair (violin) were among the finest and most celebrated instrumentalists and composers of this time, performing in the private apartments of the king at Versailles and in the salons of the nobility in Paris.

This is the music of elegant conversation that, with the natural charm and sensitivity of its melodies and the classical beauty of its forms, delights the intellect and moves the heart.

Jean-Féry Rebel (1666-1747)
Tombeau de Monsieur Lully
from Septième Sonate (Paris, 1712)

Marin Marais (1656-1728)
Sonnerie de Ste. Genevieve du Mont de Paris
(Paris, 1723)

Jacques Hotteterre (1674-1763)
Première suite de pièces a deux dessus sans basse continue
(Paris, 1712)

François Couperin (1668-1733)
Second Ordre: ‘L’Espagnole’
from Les Nations: Sonades et Suites de Simphonies en Trio (Paris, 1726)

Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764)
Tambourin (Vite)—Autre Tambourin
from Deuxième Récréation de Musique Oeuvre VIII (Paris, c1737)


Rococo is a term from decorative art that has been applied by analogy to music, especially French music of the 18th century. It properly stands for a style architectural decoration that originated in France during the last years of the 17th century, born of a relaxation of the rules of French classicism, rather than as a consequence of the influence of the Italian Baroque. The first phase, one of incomparable lightness and grace, lasted until about 1730 (style régence). A second phase, style Louis XV, lasted until about 1760 and was an elaboration of the first in the direction of more exaggerated forms.

This second phase corresponds with the ascendancy of Rameau (and the later works of Leclair), whose works baffled many listeners because of their unexpected harmonic turns and complications. Leclair (violin) and Blavet (flute) were celebrated virtuosos of the Concerts Spirituel (the first ever series of public concerts started in 1725) where they were both acclaimed for their performances of their own sonatas and concertos. Rameau’s Pièces de clavecin en concerts (pieces for harpsichord with instruments) are masterworks of keyboard writing in their own right, but also achieve an integration of the instruments which is often orchestral in nature, with scorings that create sonorities and textures unique in the chamber music of the Baroque period.

Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764)
Deuxième Récréation de Musique Oeuvre VIII (Paris, c1737)

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
Cinquième Concert
from Pièces de clavecin en concert (Paris, 1741)

Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764)
Violin Sonata

Michel Blavet (1700-1768)
Flute Sonata

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
Troisième Concert
from Pièces de clavecin en concert (Paris, 1741)

Les Goûts-Réünis (The Styles Reunited)

In 1724 François Couperin titled his first book of instrumental chamber music Les goûts-réünis ou nouveaux concerts (‘The styles reunited or new concerts’). He was an admirer of the works of Corelli and championed the idea of combining the best of the French and Italian styles of music to create a new musical perfection. The following year he published a programmatic work titled The Apotheosis of Lully (Concert instrumental sous le titre d’Apothéose composé à la mémoire immortelle de l’incomparable Monsieur de Lully). Through text and music it tells the story of the raising of Lully to Parnassus by Apollo. There Lully meets Corelli and the Italian muses, and after some disputation Apollo proposes the Peace of Parnassus whereby the French and Italian styles are reunited. The work concludes with a Sonade en Trio in this ‘new’ style.

This program also includes a sonata by Corelli, and works by Handel and Bach that are also influenced by the French and Italian styles. It concludes with another of Couperin’s great chamber works in the ‘new’ style: L’Espagnole (‘the Spanish’) from his collection of Sonata-Suites titled Les Nations (‘the nations’).

François Couperin (1668-1733)
The Apotheosis of Lully (Paris, 1725)

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Violin Sonata

Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Recorder Sonata in C major

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Trio Sonata in G major (BWV 1039)

François Couperin (1668-1733)
Second Ordre: ‘L’Espagnole’
from Les Nations: Sonades et Suites de Simphonies en Trio (Paris, 1726)

Affetti Musicali

Affetti Musicali (‘musical affections’) is the title of a collection of instrumental chamber music published by Biagio Marini in 1617. Composers at this time used the term affetto in two ways: to refer to universal states of the soul (such as rage, melancholy, joy or mystic exaltation), as well as the particular exrpessive devices employed in composition and performance.

This usage arises from the new aesthetic concept in Baroque theory that the aim of music is to give delight and move the ‘affections’ of the listener. The concept derives from the Greek and Latin ideas of rhetoric and oratory. According to ancient writers (Aristotle, Cicero and Quintillian), orators employed rhetorical means to control and direct the emotions of their audiences and so persuade and move them.

The works in this program explore the robust, joyous exuberance and barocco (‘wild’ or ‘grotesque’) character of Italian instrumental music written at the turn of the 17th century.

Giovanni Bassano (c1558-1617)
Ricercata Quarta
from Ricercate, passaggi et cadentie… (Venice, 1585)
Susanne ung jour (after Roland de Lassus)
Frais et gaillard (after Clemens non Papa)
from Motteti, madrigali et canzoni francese…diminuti (Venice, 1591)

Biagio Marini (c1587-1663)
Sinfonias, sonatas and dances

Marco Uccellini (c1603-1680)
Aria sopra la Bergamasca

Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)

Salamone Rossi (1570-c1630)
Sinfonias and Gagliardas

Tarquinio Merula (1594/5-1665)
Canzona La Dada

Giovanni Paolo Cima (c1570-?)
Sonata à 3
from Concerti ecclesiastici… (Milan, 1610)

Giovanni Battista Fontana (?-c1630)

Diego Ortiz (c1510-c1570)

Masters of the High Baroque

François Couperin (1668-1733)
Quatrième Ordre: ‘La Piémontoise’
from Les Nations: Sonades et Suites de Simphonies en Trio (Paris, 1726)

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Sonata in D major [gamba solo]

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Fantasias [flute solo]

Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Sonata in A major Op. 1/10 (HWV 372)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Trio Sonata in G major (BWV 525)

Works for Larger Ensemble

[The number in square brackets indicates the number of performers required.]

The works by Blavet, Buffardin, Rebel, Leclair and Telemann are rarely heard, but are excellent pieces.

Several interesting programs can be constructed from the following works:

Michel Blavet (1700-1768)
Flute Concerto in A minor [5]

Pierre-Gabriel Buffardin (c1690-1768)
Flute Concerto in E minor [6/7]

Jean-Féry Rebel (1666-1747)
Les Caracteres de la Danse (Paris, 1715) [4/5/6]
Les Plaisirs Champêtre (Paris, 1734) [4/5/6]
Les Elemens: Simphonie nouvelle (Paris, 1737) [6/7]

Antonio Vivaldi (c1676-1741)
Recorder Concerto in A minor [5]

Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773)
Flute Concerto in G major [6/7]

Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764)
Violin Concerto [6/7]

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Suite in B minor (BWV 1067) [6/7]
Violin Concerto in A minor (BWV 1041) [6/7]
Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 (BWV 1049) [8/9]
Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 (BWV 1050) [6/7]

Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Suite III in G major [6/7]
from Water Music (1717)

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Concerto in A major (Tafelmusik I) [7/8]
for flute and violin, strings and continuo