Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Antoine FORQUERAY (1672-1745)
Vol. 2: Harpsichord Suites Nos. 2 and 4
Suite No. 2 in G major [20.21]
Suite No. 4 in G minor [30.12]
NOTE: The following pieces complete the Suites included on an earlier release, Naxos 8.5534087
Movement from Suite No. 1 in D minor: La Laborde: Allemande [4.59]
Movement from Suite No. 3 in D major: La Morangis où la Plissay, by Jean-Baptiste-Antoine FORQUERAY [7.31]
Three movements from Suite No. 5 in C minor La Rameau, La Guignonn, La Léon: Sarabande [12.23]
Luc Beauséjour (harpsichord)
Recorded in the Church of Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez, Québec, Canada, June 1996.
NAXOS 8.553717 [76.06]


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The Forqueray family was well established in the hothouse of musical and artistic talent that surrounded King Louis XIV of France in his palace at Versailles near Paris. Antoine was considered one of France’s foremost players of the viola de gamba, and his son, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine, was an accomplished performer and music publisher.

The quality (and sheer quantity!) of music that emanated from the Sun King’s palace established an 18th century French keyboard style that influenced composers throughout Europe, and included chamber music, operas, ballets and sacred works. Forqueray’s name does not come readily to mind in the galaxy of composers that numbered Couperin, Lully and Rameau among its stars. Nevertheless, Forqueray was valued for his accomplishments, and survived to serve the King’s successor Louis XV. One result of Louis XIV’s love of music was that he took the unusual step, for that time of permitting court music to be published, which preserved and disseminated many important works and collections.

It is possible that these Suites were heard at the regular secular concerts held at Versailles, as were François Couperin’s more celebrated Concerts Royeaux. The King had a somewhat conventional musical taste, and liked short pieces. Most of the Suites are sets of dances and descriptive pieces of a light, elegant nature, the majority less than five minutes long, written to please and entertain the court. No. 2 has five movements, No. 4 six. As was usual in that period many are dedicated to other musicians or court personalities.

Forqueray’s five Suites were transcribed from viol suites and preserve the original range of the viols, which places them mainly in the middle and lower part of the harpsichord’s register, and filled out with additional harmonies and embellishments. This makes for a somewhat ‘beefy’ keyboard sound. Suite No.3, La Morangis où la Plissay, a Chaconne by Forqueray’s son, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine, ends the third published Suite. Jean-Baptiste published all five Suites arranged from his father’s works in two versions, one for viols and the other for harpsichord.

Though reflecting the much-admired ‘new’ French keyboard style, the music is rather strait-laced for its time and place, and less colourful than Couperin’s and Rameau’s sparkling vignettes. It receives a winningly enthusiastic performance from Luc Beauséjour on the forthright Yves Beaupré harpsichord after Hemsch and Blanchet used for this performance. The recording acoustic has more echo than is desirable for perfect clarity. The inclusion of movements from Suites 1, 3 and 5 was probably necessary to ensure completeness, and does not sound incongruous.

Roy Brewer

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