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Fevrier: Pieces De Clavecin - Paris 1734, Circa 1735 / Moersch

Fevrier / Moersch
Release Date: 04/26/2011 
Label:  Centaur Records   Catalog #: 3084/5  
Composer:  Pierre Février
Performer:  Charlotte Mattax Moersch
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

FÉVRIER Pièces de clavecin: Book I; Book II Charlotte Mattax Moersch (hpd) CENTAUR CRC 3084/5 (2 CDs: 97:33)

Two years ago, Charlotte Mattax Moersch introduced us to the harpsichord music of one of the rank-and-file of the Parisian musical establishment, Charles Noblet (1715–69). Now she does the same for Noblet’s cousin, Pierre Février (1696–1760), who beginning in 1720 held a succession of organist posts at minor Parisian churches. Février was Read more also a respected harpsichord teacher; his best-known student was Claude Balbastre, who succeeded Février at l’Eglise Saint-Roch upon the latter’s death. Février’s music is reminiscent of Couperin le Grand , with a similar mix of dance-inspired movements and descriptive character pieces, although Février seldom titles his character pieces with a proper name in the manner of Couperin. Février’s music has an additional component that was very rare in French harpsichord music of the period: a penchant for counterpoint. Both the second and third suites begin with a fugue, and the speculation is that Février was influenced by the Germans, specifically Handel. Since Handel’s suites had been printed in London in 1720, Février may have possessed a copy and studied them. Although Handel’s suites contain no fugal writing per se, the frequent imitative counterpoint may have been an inspiration to Février. No less than the 18th-century German theorist Marpurg paid tribute to Février’s fugues, calling them “beautiful fugues in Handelian style.”

Any recording by Charlotte Mattax Moersch is a welcome addition to my library; she has a commanding presence at the harpsichord, a musical personality that is immediately apparent and appropriate for the music. For the present recording, Mattax Moersch has chosen a copy after Dumont (1707) by John Phillips, a welcome change from the wiry-sounding Willard Martin heard on the Noblet disc. Like so many other harpsichord CDs, the engineering is very up close, but a tiny bit of room ambience does manage to get through. Note that the four suites of the 1734 collection are presented complete; only the first and second suites from the 1735 collection have been recorded. Perhaps Charlotte Mattax Moersch can be persuaded to return to the recording studio and give us the rest of this delectable music. Highly recommended.

FANFARE: Christopher Brodersen
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Works on This Recording

Pieces de clavecin: Premier livre by Pierre Février
Performer:  Charlotte Mattax Moersch (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Paris, 1734; France 
Pieces de clavecin: Duxieme livre by Pierre Février
Performer:  Charlotte Mattax Moersch (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1735; France 

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