I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Pancrace Royer

I recently purchased Premier Livre de Pièces pour Clavecin by the French baroque composer, Pancrace Royer as performed by Christophe Rousset. I discovered this composer and his quite flavorful music in a DVD extra by harpsichordist Skip Sempé; specifically, it was Royer's tour-de-force work entitled La Marche des Scythes. Thanks to some enterprising fan, you can see it for yourself via YouTube. (It's really good.) So, when I saw a whole collection by Rousset, another favorite harpsichordist of mine, I couldn't resist. The French harpsichordists were a rich bunch of fellows. I have a feeling more than one were eating some of the rich sauces we equate with Escoffier-style French cuisine. François Couperin was almost a lightweight, compared to the later Rameau, and certainly Monsieur Royer. Royer is remembered perhaps more so for his operas today, but he left us in 1746 a rather robust set of keyboard pieces. If you'd like to follow along with the Sempé video, behold all of the fast notes. You can also read some of Charles Downey's thoughts on this release via Ionarts blog. Royer's music makes use of some of the lower registers of the harpsichord, imparting the richness in sonority that made me think of yummy, rich French sauces. Rousset has chosen a rather nice sounding instrument to interpret Royer's pieces, among the nicer moments we hear in the third track, Les Matelots and the first, La Majesueuse. In other rather colorful pieces, such as Le Vertigo, Royer goes the other direction, tickling the upper-registers. All the time, there are ornaments all over the place. Royer's music hits my ears as quite modern, bold, and harmonically satisfying, especially in Rousset's fingers and hands. A very satisfying release that is full of energy, finger fireworks, and at times even, beautiful noise. Warmly recommended.


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