oboe band

LES NATIONS – War and Peace

Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632 – 1687): Air des hautbois Les folies d’Espagne

Johann Philipp Krieger (1649 – 1725): Lustige Feldmusik (Amusing music for the battlefield)

Johann Philipp Käfer (1672 – 1728): Lamento derer Plaisierten (Lament of the wounded) from Musicalische Bataille (Musical battle)

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767) : „Les Nations“ Ouverture,  TWV 55: B5


“LES NATIONS – War and Peace” provides a musical impression of the living side-by-side of the European nations at the baroque period of time. This happens on the basis of pieces which are either composed for oboe band or which are well presentable according to the baroque arranging practice.

Jean-Baptiste Lully’s Air des hautbois « Les folies d’Espagne » as well as his biography do show how close the connections between nations were already in the 17th and 18th century. The variations on the folia model unite the local colour of Spain with a French composer of Italian descent. By the way: Are you aware that Lully is probably the composer of the nowadays national anthem of the United Kingdom “God save the King/Queen” (which was the French national anthem until 1792)?

Not very peaceful do come Johann Philipp Krieger’s “Lustige Feldmusik” (Amusing music for the battlefield) and Johann Philipp Käfer’s “Musicalische Bataille” (Musical battle) along: these are typical examples for the documented use of the oboe band as military music in the field. Therefore the oboe band was popular due to its mobility (without any instruments which would be difficult to transport or which were delicate in terms of temperature or humidity). The oboe band was used to raise the morale of the own troops and to give the enemy the shivers.

In the “Lamento derer Plaisierten” (Lament of the wounded) from Käfer’s Musicalischer Bataille the oboes express the dirge on the many victims which every war takes as its toll.

The conclusion of this program is nevertheless lovely: Georg Philipp Telemann’s Ouverture „Les Nations“ expresses regional and national stereotypes in a humorous and exciting way: While the Turks are characterised by Janissary music the Russians are described musically by the ringing bells of the Moscow Kremlin.