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CD: Crotchet
Download: Classicsonline

H J F BIBER Gagliada - HÖÖK Polonesse [3:48]
Serra Köningsberg [1:46]
Joyne hands [2:05]
O mistress mine [2:34]
The Frog Galliard [2:59]
Division CS [2:42]
Gavotte du Luthe [3:52]
The Duke of Norfolk [2:53]
Menuet [2:55]
Polska [3:11]
Polonesse-Proportio-Serra [2:34]
Lustige Nakht [6:24]
Affetuoso [1:14]
Vivace [3:14]
Tambourine [3:49]
O’Mary’s [4:55]
Rebens Opfer [4:11]
REBaroque/Maria Lindal (violin and artistic director)
rec. Sveriges Radio Studio 3, Stockholm, Sweden, 7-9 February 2008
PROPRIUS PRCD2046 [55:14]
Experience Classicsonline

Looking at the sparse details given above you may reasonably ask where is all the information that reviewers normally give, such as the composers’ full names, the full titles of the works and the dates that they were written. I am reasonably sure that “T Morley” is Thomas Morley and “C Simpson” is Christopher Simpson, but presumably “Höök” is not James Hook. However the point of this disc is to “explore the borderland between Baroque music and folk-music”. As a result not only is what is above all the information that is given on the sleeve, but the works appear in forms that their original composers might well not recognise. The Leclair is an extreme example, starting like some sort of exotic incantation before the usual rhythm of the Tamourine is heard together with a distorted version of a melody presumably composed by Leclair. Other pieces start more conventionally. The Frog Galliard starts as one might expect but is enlivened with additional frog imitations. The Boccherini Minuet is indeed the Boccherini Minuet (from the Quintet in E major Op 11 No 5) and starts with a straightforward arrangement of that piece for flute and strings. However in the middle it turns into a wild piece of Scandinavian-sounding folk fiddling based loosely on the Boccherini tune before finally turning back to the more sedate original. “The Ladykillers” may have done more than hint at the ironic possibilities of the piece but this goes further and is extremely funny. You may however find this quite beyond anything that might be acceptable, in which case this disc is plainly not for you. For my part I loved every minute of it once I had got over the initial shock.
The variety here is considerable. Rarely is any piece allowed to continue for long in a form that its composer might recognise, but each piece is varied in a different way. The two pieces in which Andreas Edlund, the harpsichordist of the group, is involved as composer are both based on klezmer tunes and effects. The second – Rebens Opfer – combines the klezmer tune Der Rebbetanst with the theme from Bach’s Musical Offering in a splendidly unlikely union.
REBaroque was originally known as the Stockholm Baroque Orchestra, and has played with many distinguished soloists, conductors and choirs. They clearly enjoy the chance to explore new territory, and to mix music from a variety of periods from the sixteenth century to the present in a way that constantly surprises the listener. The only similar group I can think of is Red Priest, although REBaroque are perhaps not so obviously “in your face”. The disc is well recorded and is certainly worth exploring even if for this stuffy listener a little more information about the origin of the music would have been welcome.
John Sheppard


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