Forqueray Suites for Harpsichord
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 03/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Antoine Forqueray (1672-1745) was a viol virtuoso in the same era as Marin Marais, who is probably better known these days because of the popular movie 'Tous les matins du monde' which was about his life. In their day it was said Marais played 'like an angel' while Forqueray played 'like the devil.' We know his work primarily through the works presented on this CD. It is the second of two CDs - the earlier CD was released by Naxos in 1995 - that feature the harpsichord suites arranged by Forqueray's son, Jean-Baptiste, from his father's viol suites . The viol suites themselves have been recorded, and there is another traversal of these harpsichord suites by Christophe Rousset on the Universal label; I have not heard that release. The music consists of short pieces that are mostly in dance rhythms and many of these pieces were named by Forqueray's son for famous musicians of his own time. For instance, there is one named for violinist and composer Jean-Marie Leclair and another for Rameau (marked, not surprisngly, 'majestueusement'). One unusual feature of these suites is that Forqueray's son arranged them to reflect precisely the range in his father's viol suites, and thus they rarely rise above the harpsichord's lower and middle registers. This gives them, in spite of their dance rhythms, a certain solemnity. This release has the complete Second and Fourth Suites. Since the complete First, Third and Fifth Suites would not fit on the previous release, some excerpts are included here. This is not a major concern, as the component dances are often played alone in modern performances. And if one has both CDs, one can program the excerpts to fit into their home suites.Luc Beauséjour is a young Québecois harpsichordist who is making a name for himself these days. There is much to like in these performances, although there is occasionally more rubato that one might desire. The sound of the harpsichord he uses, a modern instrument modeled on those of the 17th-c. makers Hemsch and Blanchet, is a bit clouded to my ears."