Forqueray Unchained

André Lislevand, Jadran Duncumb, Paola Erdas, feat. Rolf Lislevand
Arcana A486

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I’ve been hoping for some Forqueray (who was born in 1671) in this anniversary year and here we have three artist-compiled suites in which his music is predominant, but complemented by selections from the work of Marin Marais, Robert de Visée, and Louis Couperin. The gamba is mostly accompanied by theorbo, though occasionally (and unnecessarily) also by harpsichord. I did, however, enjoy the keyboard’s rich solo – Couperin’s Passacaille.

Forqueray’s demands on his interpreters are considerable, but André Lislevand is absolutely on top of his game and not afraid to explore the extremes of his instrument’s aesthetic world though without ever losing touch with le bon goût. From time to time he is perhaps a little too gentle compared with the more incisive theorbo, though it might be, of course, that the latter needed to curb his enthusiasm in places. But theirs is an audibly happy collaboration and the actual programme is excellently conceived.

The booklet (in English, French, and Italian) contains the usual biographies and three short essays which, as seems to be the current fashion, give us the music’s context but say little specific about its content, though this would surely be welcomed by anyone new to the repertoire.

David Hansell

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