… Pour Passer La Mélancolie

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Clerambault,D’anglebert,Froberger,Jcf Fischer,L Couperin,Muffat
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: … Pour Passer La Mélancolie
PERFORMER: Andrea Staier (harpsichord)


This stimulating recital by Andreas Staier takes as its leitmotif various states of melancholy with their metaphysical connotations and their relationship between the real, the ideal and the artificial. Staier has chosen some of the greatest keyboard composers of the 17th century to fill his canvas. Setting the prevailing mood of the recording, he begins with a Suite in the French manner by Johann Froberger, whose opening consists of a ‘Plainte faite à Londres pour passer la Mélancolie’ (Lament from London to overcome sadness) – the title perhaps referring to Froberger’s disappointment about London’s lack of musical opportunities, or to the pirate attack that he survived between Calais and Dover. Better known is his Lamento in the form of an allemande for Ferdinand IV, King of Bohemia and Hungary, with which Staier concludes his programme.

The Suite by Louis Couperin, one of Froberger’s acquaintances, concludes with a tombeau for the lutenist M de Blancrocher, with whom Froberger became close friends. The other tombeau, or tribute, to the departed, is D’Anglebert’s fine piece in memory of his composer compatriot Jacques Champion de Chambonnières. Staier brings nobility to his playing of these pieces while exerting appropriate rhythmic elasticity in the several Préludes non mésurés. Only in the Passacaglias of Johann Fischer’s suite Uranie did the tempo feel hard pressed. Otherwise a satisfying issue on a fine-sounding and sympathetically recorded mid-18th-century harpsichord.


Nicholas Anderson