Forqueray: Pièces de clavecin: Suite No. 1;Suite No. 2; Suite No. 3; Suite No. 4; Suite No. 5

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COMPOSERS: Forqueray
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Pièces de clavecin: Suite No. 1;Suite No. 2; Suite No. 3; Suite No. 4; Suite No. 5
PERFORMER: Christophe Rousset (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: 466 976-2
Antoine Forqueray was one of several highly gifted French composers for the bass viol during the first half of the 18th century. He died in 1745 and it was left to his son to assemble his father’s compositions in two distinct publications. In 1747 Jean-Baptiste Forqueray brought out an edition of Antoine’s pieces for bass viol with another containing the same pieces, but transcribed for harpsichord, together with three excellent pieces of his own. Whether or not Jean-Baptiste himself undertook the harpsichord transcriptions they are skilfully done and only the prevailing use of the instrument’s lower register might alert a suspicious mind to enquire after their provenance. Christophe Rousset plays with rhythmic energy and a stylistic authority which carries conviction. In his hands these works emerge as the finely crafted pieces that they undoubtedly are, full of communicative gestures, virtuoso flourishes and sophisticated rhetoric. Yet, thinking back to these pieces in the form that Antoine Forqueray envisaged them we must conclude that he was a bass viol player of extraordinary talent and technical virtuosity. This is neither the first nor the only currently obtainable recording of Antoine Forqueray’s pieces in their harpsichord clothes, but it is the strongest advocate of them. Nicholas Anderson

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