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Pancrace Royer
Premier Livre de pièces pour clavecin

Christophe Rousset (harpsichord)

Naive AM 151

Joseph Nicolas Pancrace Royer (1705-1755) was a gifted all-rounder who would have become better known but for his sudden premature death. This Premier Livre de pièces pour clavecin (1746) remains alone, though the notes tell us of his having 'left enough pieces in manuscript for a second and even a third book'. Perhaps Christophe Rousset has explored them?

The 14 pieces make for a nicely varied programme, with some transcriptions from items in his operas, and two of extreme virtuosity, Le Vertigo and La Marche des Scythes. The scores can all be downloaded free from the invaluable Icking Archive.

The presentation is fully illustrated and scholarly, with a full analysis of the provenance and history of this splendid instrument. At its 1784 ravalement it was even supplied with a cunning diminuendo stop to progressively remove or add registers in a set order, in recognition of the growing competition from the increasingly popular fortepiano.

This is a magnificent harpsichord disc, with the important Goujon/Swanen instrument recorded at the Musee de la Musique in Paris superbly played by Rousset. Unreservedly recommended.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See also Pollock on LIR - - 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 - -