Christophe Rousset

Christophe Rousset Performs Froberger

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This is one of a series of albums recorded by harpsichordist Christophe Rousset on instruments owned by the Musée de la Musique in Paris; these generally have been been rapturously received in France. This particular release features a harpsichord by Johannes Couchet, a protégé of the great Dutch builder Ruckers; revamped in Paris half a century after it was built, it exceeds even the great Ruckers instruments in sheer volume and power. The harpsichord has been officially designated a "national treasure" by the French government. You can understand why many listeners will be enthusiastic about a recording like this. The performance takes Rousset's already formidable grasp of the dense 17th-century keyboard idiom, complete with his scalpel-like way of pausing slightly to unfold the dissonant details in the counterpoint of the long allemand movements, and amplifies it with the power of a truly remarkable instrument. You can also understand why others might find it a bit claustrophobic. The program consists entirely of suites, with all the movements except for the gigues taken in such a subjective way that the dance rhythms underlying them are barely recognizable; the more regular gigues seem to jump out of the flow of events in a disconcerting way. Rousset's playing, though undeniably intense, isn't what you'd call expressive. Maybe this lies in the music itself, however; Froberger was an avatar of the abstract impulse that ran from Frescobaldi down to Bach, and Rousset's performances certainly do reveal its many layers. Sample and see you how like it. The sound, putting the listener up close to the harpsichord, is a major plus, as are the booklet notes (by Rousset and others), in French and English.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Suite 2 in D minor
1 3:58
2 1:53
3 3:10
4 1:12
Suite 7 in E minor
5 6:23
6 1:38
7 1:14
8 3:32
Suite 8 in A major
9 2:52
10 1:19
11 1:05
12 2:25
Suite 9 in G minor
13 4:13
14 2:19
15 1:51
16 3:02
Suite 10 in A minor
17 4:12
18 1:47
19 1:23
20 3:08
Suite 12 in C major
21 6:30
22 1:16
23 1:48
24 3:03
blue highlight denotes track pick