The name of the apparently French-Netherlandish Baroque guitarist and composer François Le Cocq is almost unknown. One wonders whether he might be related to the superb Belgian-American bluesman Pierre Lacocque. His work survives in a single manuscript copied in 1729 by a church official in Ghent, selections of which are played here. This is one of those historical-performance releases in which the booklet notes tend to undersell the contents. Annotator Françoise-Emmanuelle Denis informs the lucky buyer that "the majority of dances included in Le Cocq's manuscript are not particularly significant," buttressing the opinion with a hilarious note from the Belgian compiler calling them "honest and lively bluffs for catching the dupes who have the means to pay for them." However, while this is not the place to start with Baroque guitar music, they're not as bad as all that. The arrangement by key on the album is not original, but guitarist Rafael Andia is following numerous Baroque precedents. He does well to lead off four of his five sets with an Allemande, for these are Le Cocq's most interesting pieces. If they don't quite reach the point of, as Denis says, "proclaiming the sonata allegro," they're unusually ambitious examples of the allemande dance, and they do lead the listener on unusually wide tonal journeys. The shorter dances, too, are a varied lot, with quite modern passages (for 1729) evoking Domenico Scarlatti. Andia's guitar is another point in the album's favor. Not much information is given other than that it was build by Charles Besnainou in 1983, but it has a wonderful rounded tone and produces a minimum of extraneous noise. Enthusiasts of the Baroque guitar will enjoy this release.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim