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The French Harpsichord
David Pollock

Jacques Champion de Chambonnières: Pavane L'Entretien des Dieux
Louis Couperin: Suite in F
Jean-Henry D'Anglebert: Tombeau de Mr de Chambonnières
Gaspard Le Roux: Suite in F
François Couperin: 3 movements from Sixième Ordre in B flat
Pancrace Royer: La Marche des Scythes

London Independent Records LIR006 [50 mins] www.jansmusic.co.uk

David Pollock's felicitous debut recital is of a delectable tracing the evolution of the French tradition of harpsichord music. It begins a little soberly, and he tends to maintain a firm pulse with less freedom than one might expect, but he soon unbends and there are some delicious things, not least some real discoveries. He has chosen a programme of mostly not-too-well known pieces which works well played straight through.

D'Anglebert's Tombeau is duly serious and moving, whilst Couperin's barricades oscillate like a boat in a gentle swell. Especially ear-catching is the suite by Le Roux and Pollock's account of Royer's Scythian March is a tour de force that bids fair to become as popular as did Puyana's version of the Soler Fandango, if the classical disc-jockeys get to hear it.

The sweet-toned Ruckers copy is heard to best advantage in the studio recording (Adam Fuest) and perhaps there may be a chance to hear the original instrument (Cobbe Collection, Hatchlands, in playable condition) one day?

Meanwhile, I look forward to David Pollock's next, English music recorded on a muselar virginals, which has a single keyboard but by the placement of the bridge suggests contrasting voices in its different register (q.v. my review of Davitt Moroney's complete Byrd boxed set).

An auspicious debut. If he contemplates returning to the French repertoire, David Pollock might consider recording a programme of Le Roux and Royer? Meanwhile, if you think 50 mins is short measure for nowadays, you can play this one again!

O Mistris Myne

David Pollock's English programme has been worth waiting for; Byrd's variations on the popular tune giving the CD its title. A lovely collection of pieces by the main composers from Tallis to Purcell, and as good an exposition of the beauties of the muselar as you will find. Paula Woods provides a comprehensive note about the music and the importance of the virginal.

London Independent Records LIR005

Full details at London Independent Records website


© Peter Grahame Woolf