Don Quixote Suite

Georg Philipp Telemann created two works based on the novel by Cervantes. The first is the Serenade Don Quixote at the wedding of the Camacho (orig. title in German: Don Quichotte auf der Hochzeit des Camacho), the other light-hearted programme Suite Don Quixote for strings and basso continuo. The serenade was completed in 1761, when Telemann was 80 years old. Some scholars believe that the Suite dates from the time of the Serenade, but it is more likely to have been composed earlier. The prevailing opinion is that it was written in Frankfurt around 1720.

Telemann named his programme suite Burlesque for Don Quixote (original title in French: Burlesque de Don Quichotte). It consists of eight movements, titled in French, which present episodes from the hero’s life. The music is pictorial, at times illustrative. The suite begins with a French overture. Its movements depict various adventures of Don Quixote and his servant Sancho Panza: Don Quixote’s Awakening (Le réveil de Quichotte), in which he cries himself to sleep while the alarm sounds; His Attack on the Windmills (Son attaque des moulins à vent); The Amorous Sighs for Princess Dulcinèe (Ses soupirs amoureux après la Princesse Dulcinée), who is actually a farm girl; Sancho Panza’s misadventures with pranksters – Sancho Panza Deceived (Sanche Panse berné); Don Quixote’s old horse Rosinante’s Galloping (Le galope de Rosinante); That of Sanche’s donkey’s gallop (Celui d’ane de Sanche); Don Quixote’s Sleep (Le couché de Quichotte) – Don Quixote finally falls asleep, dreaming of his next adventure. Sancho Panza’s donkey gallop and Don Quixote’s attack on the windmills are particularly expressive.

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