J OHAN HELMICH RO­MAN Drot­tningholmsmusiken (CPO)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

If you had been a wed­ding plan­ner in Swe­den in Au­gust 1744 and had been given re­spon­si­bil­ity for or­ches­trat­ing the three-day wed­ding fes­tiv­i­ties of Duke Adolf Fredrik to Princess Louisa Ul­rika of Prus­sia (sis­ter of Fred­er­ick the Great) at Drot­tningholm Palace, just out­side Stock­holm, you as­suredly would have asked Johan Helmich Ro­man to write the mu­sic. Al­though he was go­ing through per­sonal dif­fi­cul­ties — his sec­ond wife had died two months ear­lier, and he was be­set by en­croach­ing deaf­ness — he was Swe­den’s prin­ci­pal late-Baroque mu­si­cal star. For this cel­e­bra­tion he com­posed his most fa­mous work, the Drot­tningholmsmusiken, a 25-move­ment or­ches­tral suite com­pris­ing a sparkling suc­ces­sion of courtly dances and other charmed move­ments un­en­cum­bered by deep emo­tion. Com­pet­ing per­for­mances have ap­peared on disc in re­cent months, with An­drew Manze lead­ing the Hels­ing­borg Sym­phony Or­ches­tra (on the Bis la­bel) and with harp­si­chordist Göran Karls­son di­rect­ing the En­sem­ble 1700 Lund on this disc. And the win­ner is … En­sem­ble 1700 Lund, whose pe­riod in­stru­ments and in­te­grated tex­tures ring true where the Hels­ing­borg Sym­phony’s more mod­ern or­ches­tral bal­ances seem stylis­ti­cally in­con­gru­ous (sur­pris­ing, since Manze is one of the world’s lead­ing Baroque vi­o­lin­ists). Ro­man’s suite is rem­i­nis­cent of Han­del, or per­haps of Tele­mann at his best, and it would still serve ca­pa­bly for a three-day wed­ding feast, should you be called upon to host one. — James M. Keller

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