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The Galileo Project / Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra [CD & DVD]

Vivaldi / Lully / Tafelmusik Baroque Orch / Lamon
Release Date: 03/27/2012 
Label:  Tafelmusik Media   Catalog #: 1001   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonio VivaldiJean-Baptiste LullyClaudio MonteverdiTarquinio Merula,   ... 
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



THE GALILEO PROJECT Jeanne Lamon, dir; Tafelmusik Baroque O (period instruments) TAFELMUSIK 1001 (DVD: 86: 47; CD: 56:54)


Music of BACH, GALILEI, HANDEL, LULLY, MARINI, MERULA, MONTEVERDI, PURCELL, RAMEAU, TELEMANN, VIVALDI, WEISS, ZELENKA


In my review of Amarillis’s performances of J. C. Bach’s music elsewhere in this issue, I am quite hard on them for not only a lack of inspiration but an outright lack of involvement in anything they are Read more playing. That is definitely something that cannot be said of Canada’s brilliant early-music group Tafelmusik. Everything it plays not only sounds enthusiastic but as if it were freshly written.


Thus it was an unalloyed pleasure to put the CD from this set on first to hear the group’s musical approach before watching the same works performed on the DVD. Just listen to the exquisitely shaded readings of the Marini Passacaglia or the Zelenka Adagio, then turn to the unbelievably enthusiastic readings of music by Lully and Rameau, the uplifting version of the Bach BWV 29 Sinfonia, or the way they bang the tambourine and bounce their way through the “Moresca” from Monteverdi’s Orfeo. This is a group that really knows how to play, and convey its enthusiasm for the music to the listener.


The Galileo Project came about via the intervention of Canadian astronomer John Percy, who also happened to be an enthusiastic fan of the group. When the U.N. announced its Year of Astronomy in 2009 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of the telescope, Percy arranged for Tafelmusik to get funding for this concert, which was first presented at the Banff Center.


The reason for the time discrepancy (a half hour) between the DVD and CD versions of the concert is the scripted text, delivered here by noted Scottish-Canadian actor Shaun Smyth. Written by Tafelmusik member Alison Mackay (she’s the redhead who plays bass for the band), it includes descriptions of the heavens, the legend of Phaeton, stories about Galileo and readings from his books, stories about Newton and Kepler, and through it all is woven music evocative of the spirit of what is being talked about. Smyth’s delivery is enthusiastic, and he sets a good tone for the program. In the background, a projector shows telescope photos of the heavens and illustrations of the scientists while the orchestra continually moves around in a circle (at least, the ambulatory ones, not the cello or bass players). One of the purposes for this movement, it turns out, is that on various pieces different members of the group play lead. This is a pretty scary group in which every single violinist or wind player is capable of being a soloist on any given number, but that’s just how good Tafelmusik is.


The bonus features of the DVD are what I can best describe as classical-music videos of Tafelmusik playing Rameau’s “Entrance of Jupiter,” Handel’s Allegro, and Lully’s Chaconne from Phaeton. These have remarkable video graphics designed by Electric Square. In the first (combining the Rameau and Handel), the orchestra plays amid a giant pop-up book with pop-up buildings in a town square; as the music progresses and more instruments are heard, the musicians themselves pop up from the ground. It’s extremely clever. In the second video (the Lully Chaconne from Phaeton ), they’re playing in the midst of a giant astrolabe/gyroscope, floating in space, which is highly effective.


If you are a fan of Tafelmusik or many of the works played here, this set is highly recommended, but if you’re also a fan of astronomy, the combination of the music, visuals, and spoken text is an unalloyed joy.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for 2 Violins in A major, Op. 3 no 5/RV 519 by Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1711; Venice, Italy 
2. Phaëton, LWV 61: Excerpt(s) by Jean-Baptiste Lully
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
3. Scherzi musicali, volume 2: Zefiro torna e di soavi accenti "Ciaccona" by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1632; Italy 
4. Ciacona by Tarquinio Merula
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
5. Toccata by Michelangelo Galilei
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
6. Per ogni sorte di strumenti musicale, Op. 22: Passacaglio by Biagio Marini
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1655; Italy 
7. L'Orfeo: Moresca by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1607; Mantua, Italy 
8. Abdelazer, Z 570 "Moor's Revenge": Rondeau by Henry Purcell
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1695; England 
9. Hippolyte et Aricie: Entree de Jupiter by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
10. Concerti grossi (6), Op. 3: no 6 in D major/d minor, HWV 317 - 2nd movement, Allegro by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1715-1717; London, England 
11. Les Surprises de l'Amour: Entreé de Venus by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
12. Concerto for 4 Violins without Basso Continuo in D major, TV 40 no 202: Allegro by Georg Philipp Telemann
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Baroque 
13. Trio Sonatas (6) for 2 Oboes, Bassoon and Basso Continuo, ZWV 181: no 1 in F major - Adagio by Jan Dismas Zelenka
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Baroque 
14. Platée: Entrée de Mercure by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1745; France 
15. Phaëton, LWV 61: Air pour les suivants de Saturne by Jean-Baptiste Lully
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; France 
16. Concerto for Lute and Flute in C major: Allegro by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
17. Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1: Excerpt(s) by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Leipzig, Germany 
18. Wir danken dir, Gott, BWV 29: no 1, Sinfonia in D major by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1731; Leipzig, Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  4 Customer Reviews )
  Birthday Gift July 21, 2012 By Marianne Schreiber (La Puente, CA) See All My Reviews "It was a big a hit as I thought it would be. M S" Report Abuse
 Great idea...mediocre performance July 17, 2012 By Laurence B. (Acton, CA) See All My Reviews "I was excited when I read about this dvd and cd and ordered it immediately. When it arrived I was disapointed by the stiff performance. Mucis was not up to the concept." Report Abuse
 A Feast for the Senses! May 20, 2012 By Janice S. (Everett, WA) See All My Reviews "Auditory and visual beauty throughout! My wish would be to sit in the audience in order to allow the Hubble Telescope photos to enhance the gorgeous music and performance art in my own timing rather than the camera's." Report Abuse
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