In the 18th century, Leufsta Bruk – some 140 kilometres northwest of Stockholm – was the centre of a major industry producing iron both for Swedish needs and for export. It was a little principality in the middle of the forest governed by the descendants of Louis De Geer, a Belgian financier who developed the ironworks. The family was highly cultured and musical, and in particular Charles De Geer, a noted scientist as well as industrialist, contributed greatly to the remarkable collection of musical scores at Leufsta. These scores were to a large extent brought from Amsterdam and mirror the development of music and music publishing on the continent, as well as the musical activities at a flourishing Swedish manor of the period.
Not surprisingly the collection – and this disc – contains music by well-known composers such as Vivaldi and Tartini, but there are also rarely heard works, for various instrumental combinations. Duets, keyboard solos, trio sonatas and the charming collection of ‘Boer Dances’ bear testament to the entertainments – often with the active participation of members of the De Geer family themselves – that enlivened the evenings at Leufsta in the mid-18th century.
Bringing these musical treasures to life is the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble, whose many recordings on BIS have created a following around the world. Released in 1985 their version of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, with soloist Nils-Erik Sparf, is considered one of the classic recordings of this work. A much later disc, Telemann’s Don Quixotte (BIS-CD-1226) was recommended by the Spanish magazine CD Compact, and received a 5 star review in BBC Music Magazine, containing the following words of praise: 'the Drottningholm musicians capture all with admirable esprit and no breaches of stylistic decorum.' The same may safely be said about the present recording.