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Today’s listening: Ecos Fidelles – Wilbert Hazelzet

Ecos Fidelles – Pieces pour la flute traversiere par M. Hotteterre (Glossa, 1996)

Wilbert Hazelzet, traverso
Konrad Junghänel, theorbo | Jaap ter Linden, viola da gamba | Jaques Ogg, harpsichord

Quick context:

  • Where? – Early 18th c. France
  • Who? – Jacques Hotteterre (1673-1763): wind instrumentalist and composer, ordinaire de la chambre du roy
  • What? Preludes, Suites & Aires for traverso

This is intense. Hazelzet’s thick and round sound in this recording is really full of intention. Specially in the slow movements he often inflates long notes, apparently reaching the limits of the instrument and provoking a very profound way of listening to the music: as if it was of major importance. And then there are the delicate piano notes — just (almost) everything seems to be in its place in a natural and at the same time challenging, sophisticated and elegant way. Which is also true for his ornaments, no extravagancy but coherence and beauty.

When it comes to the basso continuo interpretation in French baroque music in general, most of the time the density of ornamentation is much lighter than in the solo part, and I don’t see why it should be this way.

Apart from the well chosen famous Suites (the last one on the CD – in g minor – being really interesting for its very high continuo part in the first two movements), Hazelzet recorded the more seldom played Preludes from Hotteterre’s L’art de prèluder sur la flûte traversière and the less known French songs, Airs, ornamented by Hotteterre, which I enjoy very much. They are a great example of how vocal music can work perfectly for an instrumental emsemble.

So, here we have a superb album, which lacks any superficiality: highly recommended! I hope for a new CD of Hotteterre’s works by Mister Hazelzet. Or maybe the Concerts royaux by F. Couperin?

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