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Generally the music of the time of Louis XIV and particularly Louis XV comes from a tense period when France was the most powerful state in Europe. This resulted in increasing tension and was to lead ultimately into what has been the termed the Age of Revolt and indeed a revolution in France. However, the musical examples of this period are presented here in clear-cut interpretations with the skill of a very experienced performer. Furthermore, the view of an Estonian musician with a particular appreciation of this music is very important. This performance provides a definitive view of French music around the time of Louis XV.

Rameau is notable particularly for his development of ideas of orchestration and instrumentation and also his theatre work. Lesser known but significant younger contemporaries such as Royer and Mondonville were also notable in respect to new ideas. It is therefore particularly interesting that the CD opens and closes with the work of Royer which shows a contrast, with Rameau's work being perhaps more compact and focused. The full name of Royer is Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer and while this might be seen as a cumbersome name his writing for harpsichord is far from cumbersome. The pieces at the beginning and the end of the CD, through the nimble fingers and decisive approach of Imbi Tarum, demonstrate this.

The works of Forquery are distinctive and well illustrated by the three pieces on this CD. In some curious way the pieces, perhaps in their chordal structures, anticipate the evolution of the forte-piano with its variable volume. In fact Cristofori in Florence had already produced what he termed a 'gravi cembalo col piano e forte'. Here the potential problems of his music are very well dealt with by the performer on a superb harpsichord.

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Copyright © 11 November 2007 Peter G Howell, Shropshire UK


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