Toad Lane Concerts: The Telemann Baroque Ensemble

Date published: 24 March 2024

On the day of the spring equinox, this refined troupe of players made the first of their quarterly visits to Toad Lane Concerts in 2024. Their varied line ups are drawn from the cream of freelancers in the Northwest. This concert featured Alastair Roberts on flute, Elaine da Costa and Sarah Snape on violins, Roger Bisby on cello, and Peter Collier at the harpsichord. As usual, players and audience alike revelled in the glorious sound they made in the generous acoustic of St Mary in the Baum.

The first work was Telemann’s Don Quichotte suite for strings and harpsichord. It is unusual in that we do not usually associate programme music (that tells a story) with the Baroque period. In this case Telemann wrote a light-hearted tribute to Cervantes’ epic novel, Don Quichotte (Don Quixote of La Mancha) in the form of a suite. The ageing minor nobleman wakes with delusions of grandeur, attacks windmills as giants, fantasises that a peasant girl is a princess, puts his sidekick Sancho Panza into peril, gallops off on horseback leaving Sancho to follow on a donkey, and thence to sleep… perchance to dream. All beautifully played.

Another unusual work followed, by the little heard but prolific, French violinist and composer, Jean-Baptiste Quentin le Jeune: a charming sonata for flute, violin, viola, cello and harpsichord. This was followed by a trio by JB Loeillet, significant because this composer promoted the flute as we know it (flûte à travers) over the usual Baroque recorder (flûte à bec).

Finally, the full ensemble joined together for a superb Flute Concerto by Francesco Mancini. The sustained applause showed how much the audience enjoyed seeing players of this calibre bringing rare music to life.

The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are every Wednesday at 12.30pm at St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. No refreshments available. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.

To see details of forthcoming Toad Lane Concerts, click here.

Dr Joe Dawson

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online