Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

Directed by Kristian Bezuidenhout

Live performances:
May 10–12, 2024 at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre



Suite of Ayres for the Theatre
Overture – Rondeau – Hornpipe – Slow Air – Act Tune
– Air – Curtain Tune


Concerto grosso no. 5 in D Minor, after Scarlatti
Largo – Allegro – Andante moderato – Allegro


Concerto for harpsichord in G Minor, BWV 1058
Allegro – Andante – Allegro assai



Concert en sextuor
La Coulicam
La Poule (The Chicken)
Menuets 1 & 2
L’Enharmonique (The Enharmonic)
L’Égyptienne (The Egyptian)


Allegro, from Concerto for oboe and harpsichord in D Minor, BWV 1059, reconstructed by Bruce Haynes


Suite for orchestra in G Major, after Trio sonata op. 5, no. 4, arranged by K. Bezuidenhout
Ouverture – Allegro – Menuet – Passacaille

Kristian Bezuidenhout


Kristian Bezuidenhout is one of today’s most notable and exciting keyboard artists, equally at home on the fortepiano, harpsichord, and modern piano. Kristian is an Artistic Director of the Freiburger Barockorchester and Principal Guest Director with the English Concert. He is a regular guest with leading ensembles, including Les Arts Florissants, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE), Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and has guest directed numerous period ensembles, including Tafelmusik.  

Last season saw Kristian perform with the Auckland Philharmonic, Guerzenich Orchestra, and play/direct projects with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, OAE, Kammerochester Basel, Philharmonia Baroque, and Concerto Copenhagen. He joined Mark Padmore and Sol Gabetta for recitals in Europe and undertook a North American tour with Anne Sofie von Otter.  

Kristian’s rich and award-winning discography on Harmonia Mundi includes the complete solo keyboard music of Mozart. Recent releases include Schubert Winterreisse with Mark Padmore, Bach sonatas for violin and harpsichord with Isabelle Faust, Haydn piano sonatas, and the complete Beethoven Concerti with Freiburger Barokorchester. 

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

Violin I

Johanna Novom, Julia Wedman, Cristina Zacharias, Chloe Fedor

Violin II

Patricia Ahern, Geneviève Gilardeau, Christopher Verrette


Brandon Chui, Patrick G. Jordan


Keiran Campbell, Michael Unterman*

Double Bass

Sue Yelanjian


John Abberger, David Dickey


Dominic Teresi

Access full bios for core orchestra members at tafelmusik.org/orchestra

*Cello chair generously endowed by the Horst Dantz and Don Quick Fund

Program Notes

by Charlotte Nediger

Transformation: The action of changing in form, shape, or appearance. In mathematics: Change of form without alteration of quantity or value. (Oxford English Dictionary).

In the theatre, the word “transformation” was used to denote scene changes, and it is appropriate that we open this week’s concerts with a visit to the London theatres of the late 17th century—and to music by Henry Purcell written to accompany moments of transformation on the stage. The English public flocked to the theatres when they reopened after the Restoration, and Purcell provided the music for countless plays: curtain music, music for scene changes, songs, and the occasional dance or piece of mood music. Purcell’s theatre music was enormously popular, and following his untimely death in 1695 his family decided to capitalize on this popularity by publishing a collection of his “Ayres for the Theatre.” Kristian Bezuidenhout has assembled a suite of instrumental pieces from several plays included in this collection (Abdelazer, The Old Bachelor, The Virtuous Wife, Timon of Athens, and the more familiar Fairy Queen and King Arthur).

In the realm of baroque instrumental music, the most common act of transformation is in taking a piece and altering it in some way: for example, by assembling different movements together to create a “new” work, or by reworking them for a different instrument or ensemble. The result is the aural equivalent of seeing something in a new light.

The Newcastle-based organist and composer Charles Avison offers a wonderful example of both techniques in his collection of 12 Concertos “done from the lessons of Sigr Domenico Scarlatti.” Scarlatti wrote over 500 harpsichord sonatas while employed at the royal courts in Lisbon and Madrid. A selection of these were published in England in 1739 and enjoyed great popularity. A concert promoter, Avison realized that he could take advantage of the public’s fascination with the Scarlatti works by arranging them for string orchestra. Each of Scarlatti’s sonatas is a single-movement work, so Avison’s intent was to select four sonatas to create each four-movement concerto. Traditionally, baroque concerti grossi alternate slow and fast movements, and this posed a problem, as the vast majority of Scarlatti’s sonatas fall into the ‘fast’ category. Avison cleverly advertised that several of the solo movements in his concertos were drawn from a manuscript of Scarlatti sonatas that only he had seen. The truth is that most of the slow movements were undoubtedly composed by Avison himself. In the Fifth Concerto, the opening Largo is of Avison’s invention, and the remaining three movements are arrangements of Scarlatti sonatas K.11, K. 41, and K.5.

In the two works by Johann Sebastian Bach on the program, we find a composer turning to his own works, adapting them for a different circumstance or instrumentation. Bach was a master of adaptation, as can be seen in his concertos for harpsichord. Bach wrote at least 14 concertos for one or more harpsichords for the Leipzig Collegium Musicum, an association of professional musicians and university students who presented weekly public concerts at Zimmerman’s Coffee House. Among the most talented performers at Zimmerman’s would have been the harpsichordists: Bach himself and his most gifted pupils, notably his sons Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel.

Most (if not all) of the harpsichord concertos were arrangements of earlier works for other instruments. The G-Minor Concerto is an arrangement by Bach of his Violin Concerto in A Minor. It can admittedly be at first challenging to find the harpsichord in the ensemble: Bach cleverly leaves the characteristic violin figurations largely intact in the right hand in the outer movements, but builds sound in the harpsichord by adding passage-work for the left hand. The lyricism of the slow movement challenges the harpsichordist to spin beautiful melodies without the aid of a bow, instead creating a mirage of legato on an instrument that relies solely on a plucking mechanism. Bach lets the harpsichord loose in the final solo of the last movement, leaving aside the arpeggiation in the original violin version with equally virtuosic writing for the keyboard.

The G-Minor Concerto is the last of seven solo harpsichord concertos all written out by Bach in a single manuscript. On the final page there follows what would have been an eighth concerto, but it stops after ten bars. It is titled “Concerto for solo harpsichord, with an oboe, 2 violins, viola, and continuo.” The music is that of Bach’s Sinfonia to Cantata 35, there scored for solo organ with an orchestra of three oboes and strings. In the incomplete concerto manuscript the single oboe plays the same part as the first violin. The oboist and musicologist Bruce Haynes included a completion of this movement in a project in which he undertook to use Bach models to imagine an additional six concertos “Brandenbourgeois”—pieces “inspired by Bach’s highly colourful and creative sequence of orchestrations of the Brandenburg Concertos.” In reworking the Sinfonia to Cantata 35, he opted to promote the oboe to the role of soloist, creating a double concerto for harpsichord and oboe by sharing the solo organ part of the original sinfonia between the two instruments. His “Brandenbourgeois” project turned out to be Bruce Hayne’s final undertaking, and he died shortly before hearing the fruit of his labour in a recording of all six “new” concertos by Bande Montréal Baroque in 2011. We are very grateful to his partner, the wonderful gambist/cellist Susie Napper, for allowing us to share this work with you.

A manuscript dated 1768 survived in the library of Jacques-Joseph-Marie Decroix, a lawyer and ardent fan of Jean-Philippe Rameau. It consisted of “Six Concerts”, arrangements of Rameau harpsichord works for strings and bassoon. It’s possible that Decroix made the arrangements himself, but it is more likely that he commissioned a musician to do the work. The first five concertos are transcriptions of Rameau’s Pièces de clavecin en concert, pieces for solo harpsichord accompanied by a violin and viola da gamba. We have chosen to include “La Coulicam” from the Premier Concert to open our selection: it is named for the haughty Persian Emperor Thomas Kouli Kan (Tahmasp Quli Khan). The sixth concerto contains a selection of pieces from Rameau’s last book of solo harpsichord works. “La Poule” features the clucking of a chicken as she struts amongst her coop-mates. “L’Enharmonique” is a musical argument for Rameau’s theories of tonality and temperament, which he justifies at length in the preface to the publication. For those who appreciate music without knowledge of theory, it can simply be enjoyed as an elegant and beguiling movement, marked “gracieusement” (to be played gracefully). “L’Égyptienne” in its original form is a delightful display of harpsichord virtuosity between the player’s hands, here transformed into a lively piece for orchestra.

Finally to George Frideric Handel, a prolific arranger of his own music. His publication of trio sonatas Opus 5 includes a sonata made up of arrangements of instrumental movements from several operas (Athalia, Radamisto, Terpsicore, Alcina, Parnasso in festa). Kristian has retained the movements of the sonata, but has returned them to the original orchestral versions heard in the operas, adding a few details of his own in the process. And so we conclude our explorations of musical transformations where we began, in the London theatres where the music of Purcell and Handel delighted audiences and sent them home humming their favourite tunes. We hope you’ll find a few favourites of your own midst the treasures you hear, in whatever guise they appear.

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