Barbaric Beauty 18th Century Dance Transcriptions (2011)


Holland Baroque Society

It goes without saying that Telemann had a thorough command of the French and Italian styles. Countless ensembles, including ours, have played such pieces. In ‘Barbaric Beauty’ we follow a completely different path by focussing on Telemann’s Polish style. At least, this is how he described the pieces he wrote after discovering the music played along the Polish-Hungarian border. It was at the beginning of his career, when he was just 25 years old, that he heard sounds that were to inspire him throughout his life. Telemann writes in his autobiography: “In 1704 I was appointed Chapelmaster in Sorau (Zary) by His Excellence Count Erdmann von Promnitz. When the Court resided for six months in Plesse and Krakow, I became acquainted with both Polish music and the music of the Hanaks. This in all its barbaric beauty. (The Hanaks are Czechs from Moravia) The music came from four different instruments: an extremely shrill violin, a Polish bagpipe, a bass trombone and a regal. On one occasion I even heard thirty-six bagpipes and eight violins together. One can hardly imagine the brilliant ideas the wind players and violinists brought forth during the improvisations at moments when the dancers were allowed to rest.” It is striking that Telemann was explicitly interested in the impro visa- tions, mentioning the ‘brilliant ideas’ for which there was only occasion when the band could free itself of the tight metre and musical require- ments of the dance. Telemann wrote with enthusiasm: “If you were to write down all that was played there, after a week you would have enough ideas for the rest of your life. If you know how to turn it to your own advantage, there is so much good to be had from this music.” He also wrote: “Later I wrote large-scale concertos and trios in this style, which I subsequently gave an Italian look to by alternating Adagios and Allegros.” Unfortunately, it cannot be established precisely what Telemann heard there. Although it cannot be confirmed, the 30 dances from the manuscript Danse d’Polonie which he wrote himself may well be literal quotes. What we do know is that the pieces from this so-called Polish dance book, which so inspired him, were clearly recycled later. They turn up in orchestral suites, for example in TWV 55:D3 where we hear the ‘Hanaquoise’, which he called Polonie in his manuscript. In TWV 55:B8 we find the ‘Mezzetin en Turc’, which he marked très vite in the Danse d’Polonie. 

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Holland Baroque Society

Free of fuss and convention, Holland Baroque Society takes to the stage with a variety of programmes. Baroque music is the key, but these musicians build bridges to other styles and arts. Balanced between tradition and renewal, they pursue the topicality of musical experience. In recent years Holland Baroque Society has collaborated with prominent Baroque musicians including Paolo Pandolfo, Quatuor Mosaïques, Emma Kirkby, Milos Valent and Hidemi Suzuki, and with composer Nico Muhly, singer and song- writer Teitur and jazz trumpeter Eric Vloeimans.

For this innovative approach the ensemble was awarded the Kersjes Prize and the VSCD Classical Music Prize in 2008, and more recently the Diapason d’Or 2012. It has brought Holland Baroque Society to all sorts of venues, from the Vienna Konzerthaus to the Amsterdam pop temple Paradiso, and from Vredenburg concert hall in Utrecht to the World Exhibition in Shanghai.

There are more projects under preparation, with Porgy Franssen, Marcus Creed, Giora Feidman, Amandine Beyer, Calefax Rietkwintet, Cappella Amsterdam, Orkater and Sergio Azzolini. Holland Baroque Society has invested just as much ambition and energy in countless Kids Only concerts and educational projects, through which thousands of children have made acquaintance with classical music. The aim is to give them a pure listening experience, and this produces pure reactions like “I’d never heard of those sunny instruments before.”

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Barbaric Beauty 18th Century Dance Transcriptions (2011)


Holland Baroque Society


Holland Baroque Society bestaat pas vijf jaar, maar heeft zich in die korte tijd bewezen als een ensemble dat er in de muziekscene echt toe doet. (...) De samenwerking tussen de Slowaakse violist Milos Valent en HBS heeft niet alleen spetterende concerten, maar inmiddels ook een even spetterende cd opgeleverd. Valent voelt zich als een vis in het water in zowel het barokrepertoire als in de typisch achttiende-eeuwse volksmuziek uit Midden-Europa en met zijn zeer aanstekelijke enthousiasme en niet te vergeten passie (!) heeft hij het gehele ensemble meegesleept: het druipt er in iedere maat vanaf. (...) Het resultaat van dit alles? Kostelijke, nee héérlijke muziek waar de vonken vanaf spatten en die ook nog eens uitstekend (ook in stereo!) werd vastgelegd.

    De Telegraaf -

Het repertoire trekt als een bonte collage voorbij, voorzien van een uitdagende swing. Er komen ook exotische instrumenten aan te pas, variërend van hakkebord tot volksfluiten en zelfs een Armeense dudak. Een feestje.

    De Volkskrant

De Holland Baroque Society heeft zich gestort op de Oost-Europese wortels van de barokmuziek. En hoe. De cd Barbaric Beauty bevat acht tracks, die bestaan uit naadloos in elkaar overlopende dansjes en andere onderdelen - regelrechte medleys dus. Het begint allemaal vrij geruststellend, met een Concerto polonaise van Telemann, maar al snel gaat het heftiger toe en belanden we aan de hand van de twee gastspelers, violist Milos Valent en fluitist/cimbalomspeler Jan Rokyta in roeriger regionen, waar de muziek hoekiger, volkser en opzwepender wordt. De musici hebben zelfs kans gezien er wat Nederlandse Boere Danssen doorheen te vlechten. Dit is crossover van het betere soort, en dat Telemann wat op de achtergrond raakt deert niet. Bovendien krijgt hij in Les Turcs toch het laatste woord.

    The Independant

Folk-classical hybrids can sound twee and tepid but Slovakian violinist Milos Valent's exploration of Telemann's Polish-influenced music and the dances that inspired it has tremendous vivacity. This is a kaleidoscope of piquant gut strings, limpid recorders and lutes, raucous duduk and Armenian clarinet, underpinned by the giddy harmonies of the cimbalom. A spirited celebration of the most broad-minded of Germany's baroque composers. -

he session photographs of members of the Holland Baroque Society reproduced in the booklet and packaging of this wonderful SACD shows them wreathed in smiles – and no wonder! This is one of the most entertaining and brilliantly conceived recordings that I have heard for some time. (...) The result is a rich and varied mix of music and styles upon which Milos Valent and his musicians have been able to draw.(...) In addition to the Holland Baroque Society’s instrumental line-up that includes theorbo, archlute, tiorbino and baroque guitar, there is some exotic sounding percussion and most importantly the participation of the brilliant Jan Rokyta. He not only plays the cimbalom, whose distinctive tones features in much of the music, but also folk recorders, Armenian duduk and clarinet. The result is an amazing range of sounds, textures and infectious rhythms. (...) Needless to say the 5.0 DSD recording made by Jared Sacks, using state-of-the-art technology (Grimm Audio/ Pyramix Editing/Merging Technologies), is magnificent in its tonal veracity and dynamic range. The captivating music, vibrant playing and the immediacy of the superb recorded sound makes this a most cherishable SACD. Performance 5 stars Sonics 5 stars

    Musicweb international

All the music here is exotic and very entertaining and the performances are very lively (...) this collection is a real eye-opener.

    American Record Guide

these are lively performances: the two guests bring a lot of spirit to their work, and the ensemble players are clearly cought up in the fun.


this disc is arranged, played and recorded with such flavor and zest that it’s a thoroughly delightful experience for the music lover and audiophile. – ‘records to die for’

    International Record Review

The disc makes fascinating listening (…) The Holland Baroque Society performs Telemann with vigour and panache. Recorded sound is vivid.


The Holland Baroque Society and the violinist Milos Valent are here in perfect osmosis in a recording which is both original and unique. Their enthusiasm is apparent on each work performed, and the listener cannot resist being lead on by such musical passion. This is, quite simply, a celebration.

Barbaric Beauty 18th Century Dance Transcriptions (2011)


Holland Baroque Society

Cables: van den Hul
Digital Converters: Grimm DSD / AD converter
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment: B+W 803 diamond series
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom made
Producer: Jared Sacks
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: Westvest, Schiedam, Holland
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64
Speakers: AudioLab Holland

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31911: Barbaric Beauty 18th Century Dance Transcriptions
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Perpetuum Mobile - Concerto Polonois in G_ Dolce
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Les Janissaires - Nota Kurucz I + II _ Zela Trovke
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Mourky - Alkmaerder Hout, Murky, Overgaan Van Door-Nik _ Les Moscovites _ Dance 298 _ Hungaricus 22
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Dance 322 - Dopschensis _ Adagio _ Ach Ma Myla Co Myslis _ Dance 325 _ Melodiarium B-14 _ Hungaricus
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Hanaquoise - Songs_ Dalat Mu Dala, Dobras Bila Kdy Te Milovali _ Hanac I-II-III, Vivement
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Two Dances - En Kitzvo _ Two Dances
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Marche - Verbung per il violino _ Ungarici No. 2,3,5 Hungarice _ Hungaricus 34
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Mezzetin en Turc - Dance 277 _ Les Turcs
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