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Johann Jacob FROBERGER (1616-1667)
… avec discretion …
Toccata (No. 11) in E minor, FbWV 111 [3:19]
Suite (No. 7) in E minor, FbWV 607 [9:40]
Suite (No. 30) in A minor FbWV 630 [8:52]
Toccata (No. 7) in G major, FbWV 107 [2:20]
Suite (No. 6) “auff die Mayerin” in G major, FbWV 606 [10:48]
Suite (No. 13) in D minor, FbWV 613 [8:49]
Suite (No. 12) in C major, FbWV 612 [11:40]
Toccata (No. 2) in D minor, FbWV 102 [3:31]
Méditation sur ma mort future [4:42]
Anne Marie Dragosits (harpsichord)
rec. Restoration House, Rochester, United Kingdom, September 2015
DIVOX ANTIQUA CDX-71602 [63:31]

Johann Jacob Froberger was a German baroque composer and one of the greatest harpsichord virtuosos of his day but he was also one of the most faithful servants: his music stayed in the hands of his patrons. Only two of his many compositions were published during his lifetime. He was seen as a major figure in the development of music, especially of the Partita, or Suite for harpsichord with its many dance-like movements.

Froberger’s music has had many fine recordings over the years, amongst them Gustav Leonhardt (RD77923), Sergio Vartolo (8.557472-73) and especially Christophe Rousset (AM 148). So, this new disc by the Austrian Anne Marie Dragosits has some stiff competition. She rises to that competition in a strong performance which deserves a better recording. Her playing is very good, if not to the standard of my favourite recording, but she is hampered by quite a reverberant instrument with a noisy action. She is also recorded a little too closely, so at times every breath she takes is audible. I do not find off-putting but I know some listeners may.

This is a real shame because there is some lovely playing here, I particularly enjoyed the performance of the Suite in C major, FbWV 612, which is often referred to by the title of the first movement, Lamento sopra la dolorosa. Here the playing is particularly fine, especially in the Courante and Sarabande where Dragosits’s performance is one of the best I have heard. I also liked her playing of the Méditation sur ma mort future, the final track of the disc and one of Froberger's best known pieces. But why not record the whole Suite? This is just one piece from a set which lasts around sixteen minutes in other recordings, so there is plenty of room to have recorded the complete Suite in D major, FbWV 620.

The recording, as already stated, is a little too close and reverberant, but I do not mind that. I do a lot of listening at night through headphones, and I must say that the performer’s breathing is less obtrusive when played through my speakers. Her excellent notes for the booklet give a real insight into the composer and his music.

Stuart Sillitoe

 

 



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