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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger

Antoine FORQUERAY (1672-1745)
Suite #2 in G (1745) [20.21)
Suite #4 in g (1745) [30.12)
from Suite #1 in d (1745): I La Laborde, Allemande [4.59]
from Suite #3 in D (1745): VII La Morangis ou la Plissay [7.31]
from Suite #5 in c (1745): I La Rameau [3.46] II La Guignon [4.43] III La Léon, Sarabande [4.34]
Luc Beauséjour, harpsichord
Notes in English, Français, Deutsch. Performer photo and biography in English.
Recorded Church of Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez, Quebec, Canada, 5 June 1996
Harpsichord Suites Volume 2
NAXOS 8.553717 [76.06]

(Additional music from Suites 1, 3, & 5 is presented on Volume I NAXOS 8.553407 but there is no duplication between disks.)


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These Suites were written originally for viols and, when edited and transcribed for harpsichord by Antoine’s son Jean-Baptiste Forqueray, the same range was kept, hence they utlize the lower range of the keyboard, giving a rich abdominal growling sound. The melodic lines are filled out with graces and ornaments, here played unerringly in the French manner by Beauséjour, who caresses the keys in a truly loving, sensual manner. An unusually live recording perspective is employed. The result is grandly musical and entertaining, particularly in the lyrical sarabandes and intricate chaconnes.

Of the two Spanish dance forms based on variations over a repeated bass figure to become popular outside of Spain in the Baroque and Pre-baroque periods, the passer caille (generally known in its Italian form, passacaglia, but also occasionally in the French passacaille) was for the plucked string, the chacona (known in France as chaconne and England as chacony) was for the bowed string, and European composers of the period generally observed this distinction. Bach’s passacaglia in c BWV 582 was originally for pedal harpsichord* even though it has been generally played on the organ, whereas the famous chaconne in d is from the violin suites although today it is played in arrangements for every instrument. The similar fandango form, for dance ensemble, was utilized by Boccherini and Soler in Spain.

Here Suite 2 movement V is entitled chaconne, but movement II is also actually such, as are Suite #4 movements I, VI, and Suite 3, movement VII. La Rameau from Suite #5 is a remarkably dramatic work, almost an operatic scene.

Paul Shoemaker

see also review by Rob Barnett

*My own arrangement for 4 guitars, including bass guitar, was performed at Boise State University and generally found effective.

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