Hotteterre - Complete Music for Flute & Continuo | Brilliant Classics 95511

Hotteterre - Complete Music for Flute & Continuo


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Label: Brilliant Classics

Cat No: 95511

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 2

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 20th April 2018



When spirits are low, the music of Jacques-Martin Hotteterre (1674-1763) is sure to raise them. Now the most celebrated member of a distinguished family of flute makers and players, he paid his way into the French royal court through his father’s well-rewarded success, and became ‘grand hautbois du roy’. In turn he passed the post on to his son, who married the daughter of the organist Balbastre.

Jacques-Martin may himself have made instruments as his ancestors did, but it was for his playing and composing that he was most esteemed in his own lifetime. Even taking into account the prolific output of his contemporary Boismortier, there is surely no more dazzling and uplifting Baroque music composed for the flute and recorder than the suites of Hotteterre which are presented here complete in new recordings, led by the Madrid-based musician Guillermo Peñalver: the sessions took place in the magnificent chapel of San Lorenzo in the city’s Escorial Palace.

Several quicker movements present the soloist with considerable technical challenges. The Allemande of the Third Suite appears to imitate waterfalls from the fountain in the gardens of Saint-Cloud through descending arpeggios. Yet the virtuosity is always lightly worn in Hotteterre, never written for the sake of sheer display but always to charm and delight the listener. Within the same suite is one of his most beautiful pieces, Le Plaintif; a simple rondeau with subtle, imperceptibly entangling ornamentation.

In addition to the suites, Peñalver presents several brief flute solos, and then the two extraordinary Préludes in which Hotteterre sums up and condenses all of his skill, artistry and science. While nominally cast in D major and G minor, each of them moves through every key belonging to their respective scales in a remarkable feat of compositional ingenuity, introducing abundant changes of mood and character along the way: so much for the commonplace idea of the French Baroque as a polished idiom as orderly as the courtly etiquette which accompanied it.

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