Duphly Harpsichord Pieces

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LABELS: Aparté
ALBUM TITLE: Duphly Harpsichord Pieces
WORKS: Harpsichord Pieces: La forqueray; Chaconne en fa; Médée, etc
PERFORMER: Christophe Rousset (harpsichord)


Jacques Duphly’s music offers much that is best in the final period of French solo harpsichord repertory. Between 1744 and 1768 he published four volumes of pieces, from each of which Christophe Rousset has selected items for his recording. Duphly’s performing skill was greatly admired by discerning contemporaries, among them, Louis Daquin who remarked upon his softness of touch and his effective application of ornament. The fine-sounding double-manual harpsichord by Christian Kroll dates from 1776 and, having survived in its original state, proves an ideal instrument from which to draw those subtleties so ardently commended by Duphly’s contemporaries.

Rousset’s recital begins with La forqueray, a noble rondeau in F minor intended as a tribute to the great bass viol player. The music lies predominantly in the bass clef, appropriately reflecting Forqueray’s own instrument, and allowing us to savour the resonant sonorities of the Kroll harpsichord. Among other highlights are a D minor rondeau, La félix whose tonal focus lies in the middle register; an excitingly varied Chaconne in F major; two dashing Italianate pieces, La cazamajor, and La victoire which comes from the Second Book and not the Fourth, as stated in the booklet; the densely ornamented and intimately expressed Les grâces; the operatically inclined Médée; and a heady C minor rondeau Le pothoüin. Rousset plays all with dexterous fluency and stylistic assurance, and the harpsichord’s character is vividly enlivened by the excellent recording.


Nicholas Anderson