En sol – Musique pour le Roi-Soleil

Floral design

Rebecca Maurer harpsichord
Genuin GEN 15352
d’Anglebert, François & Louis Couperin, de la Guerre, Lully, Le Roux & Royer

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] must say that I think Ms Maurer is pushing her luck when she suggests that the use of G (sol) major and minor by French composers at the court of Le Roi-Soleil  was a subtle tribute to the boss – they’re just incredibly common keys in the period (lots of Bach cantatas in G minor, for instance). And she doesn’t quite have the courage of her convictions: I wouldn’t have minded a complete programme ‘in G’ but we get visits from C, F and B flat too.

Still, it would be a shame not to have Couperin’s Les Baricades Mistérieuses  on this sumptuous instrument (the Neuchâtel 1632/1745 Ruckers). What we have in effect, therefore, is a rather well played recital of French harpsichord music ranging from the almost tentative musings of the opening d’Anglebert Prélude  to the lunacy that is Royer’s Le Vertigo  and that is surely no bad thing. The supporting essay, apart from the optimistic special pleading, is very good.

David Hansell

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