Gilbert Rowland: Froberger, Harpsichord Suites

review froberger rowland x1 cong

This came out a while back but there’s not much to say: nice music played well. With two CDs (48 tracks) of pretty similar music it doesn’t vary a whole lot; it does what the title says.

Johann Jakob Froberger is perhaps one of those sadly overlooked composers, in this case his own fault: Wikipedia reports that he forbade publication of his manuscripts, restricting access to his patrons and friends. After his death, the manuscripts went to his patroness Sibylla, Duchess of Württemberg. (After he died she said “people loved him for his good sense of humour”, adding that he was “ingratiating and modest”).

While many better-known composers made money selling their sheet music (and simplifications thereof) Froberger presumably didn’t need the cash — or maybe his rich patrons demanded exclusivity. His music was spread in Europe in hand-written copies, an early form of bootlegging.

He came from a musical family and was among the most famous composers of the era. Wikipedia reports that he is usually credited as the creator of the baroque suite.

Rowland is one of Europe’s most senior and accomplished exponents of the harpsichord and played on a six-CD series of the harpsichord suites of Handel for Divine Art. He specialises in baroque music and period instruments.

Froberger did write dances so it’s quite lively in a laid-back sort of way. You’d perhaps play one CD at any one time, unless you want some thoughtful background music.

For you harpsichord fans: Rowland plays a two manual French style harpsichord made by Andrew Wooderson after an instrument by Goemans (Paris, 1750).

Out on now on Divine Art’s Athene label, ATH23204.


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  1. Spearthrower Owl

    I just stumbled on this site looking for a review of this album. “Music reviews in plain English” — that is surely the case here. A very nice, informative review. Thank you!

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