Gaspard Le Roux: Complete Works for One and Two Harpsichords

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
French keyboard composer Gaspard Le Roux was one of the figures unearthed by the first wave of historical-performance-oriented harpsichordists, but performances of his work since then have been rare. There are several reasons for this: his total surviving output is sparse, some of the unmeasured preludes require a degree of imaginative reconstruction on the part of the performer, and the keyboard music is grouped into sets of pieces, dances mostly, in the same key that are uncomfortably something less than suites but something more than simply classifications of individual pieces. Nevertheless, it's worth exploring for those who want to know what came before Couperin, and...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
French keyboard composer Gaspard Le Roux was one of the figures unearthed by the first wave of historical-performance-oriented harpsichordists, but performances of his work since then have been rare. There are several reasons for this: his total surviving output is sparse, some of the unmeasured preludes require a degree of imaginative reconstruction on the part of the performer, and the keyboard music is grouped into sets of pieces, dances mostly, in the same key that are uncomfortably something less than suites but something more than simply classifications of individual pieces. Nevertheless, it's worth exploring for those who want to know what came before Couperin, and who are intrigued by the whole concept of the virtuoso during the French Baroque. Le Roux, who died in 1707, offers none of the wild programmatic concepts of François Couperin or Rameau, or even of the viol players and lutenists who preceded and inspired him. His art, instead, is one of sonority and flash, with no special elegance but lots of surprises and a high general level of difficulty. Harpsichordist Naoko Akutagawa's muscular approach is appropriate -- if she sometimes overwhelms the courtliness of the dances, all is forgiven when you come to one of those pieces whose submersion caused the extreme aspects of Baroque music to be so long overlooked; the Sarabande from the set of "Pièces in G minor" track 40. This is an unknown Baroque showpiece, concluding with a weird variation filled with chromatic arpeggios that booklet writer Glen Wilson, Akutagawa's teacher, likens to moonlight sparkling on water flowing from a Moorish fountain. That might be a bit overstated, but the booklet does a good job of plunging the interested listener into the stylistic issues relevant to unfamiliar music -- including the decision to use an optional second harpsichord, played by Wilson himself, in some of the pieces. The presence of two players seems as though it would be awkward, but it is brought off effectively here. One might have liked, however, to know something about the instruments used, and the sound is a bit on the harsh side. This isn't necessarily a recording for the casual lover of keyboard music, but it's an intriguing item for French Baroque collections.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/13/2006
  • Label: Naxos
  • UPC: 747313288427
  • Catalog Number: 8557884
  • Sales rank: 223,581

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–7 Suite for 2 harpsichords No.1 in D minor - Gaspard Le Roux & Glen Wilson (9:02)
  2. 8–11 Suite for 2 harpsichords No 2 in D - Gaspard Le Roux & Naoko Akutagawa (6:01)
  3. 12–19 Suite for 2 harpsichords No 3 in A minor - Gaspard Le Roux & Glen Wilson (10:52)
  4. 20–22 Suite for 2 harpsichords No.4 in A major - Gaspard Le Roux & Glen Wilson (5:38)
  5. 23–29 Suite for 2 harpsichords No 5 in F - Gaspard Le Roux & Glen Wilson (13:22)
  6. 30–33 Suite for 2 harpsichords No 6 in F sharp minor - Gaspard Le Roux & Glen Wilson (7:54)
  7. 34–41 Suite for 2 harpsichords No.7 in G minor - Gaspard Le Roux & Glen Wilson (22:01)
  8. 35 Gigue for 2 harpsichords in G major - Gaspard Le Roux & Glen Wilson (2:15)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Naoko Akutagawa Primary Artist
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