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Anne Marie Dragosits - The Harpsichord Dream Machine

By Pierre-Yves Lascar |

Anne Marie Dragosits takes you on a journey into the dreamworld of a lesser-known instrument with her album Ich schlief, da träumte mir (As I Slept, A Dream Came to Me).

Dragosits previous recital Le clavecin mythologique, also for the Versailles-based label L'Encelade, provides an original pretext for a colourful and inspired exploration of the harpsichord repertoire of eighteenth-century France (mainly). Once again, the Austrian Anne Marie Dragosits lavishes us with her art for enchantment and takes us into the heart of the night, a moment conducive to dreaming and beyond that, into her imagination and world of artistic creation. Ich schlief, da träumte mir (As I Slept, A Dream Came to Me) takes its origins from the idea of sleep, which came from French music (and brought to its peak by Lully in his lyrical tragedies, starting with Atys). Dragosits invites us on a journey which takes - curiously, and this is where all the interest lies - its roots in Germany between the 17th and 18th centuries and not France.

The Bach dynasty is well represented on this album, from the sons to the father: Wilhelm Friedemann and his incredible Fantasia, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and his Variations on "Ich schlief, da träumte mir" that preceed a few other pieces at the opening of the programme, including the very beautiful La Mémoire Raisonnée from a set of little-known miniatures, Wq. 117. From Johann Sebastian, Anne Marie Dragosits chose the too rare Praeludium (Harpeggiando), BWV 921, a true keyboard improvisation that is full of contrasts and explosive joy, whose hybrid tone recalls Buxtehude's "stylus phantasticus". The harpsichordist then inserts, here and there, according to her own whim - and no doubt her dreams - a few pieces by Graupner, Fischer and Kuhnau. From the former, two very beautiful pieces entitled Sommeille, taken from two different suites by the composer. On the sublime Christian Zell harpsichord of 1728 - one of the most beautiful harpsichords in the world, preserved in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Hamburg - Dragosits then deploys treasures of tenderness, as well as implacable majesty. Her playing is constantly impressive, even in the Passacaglia by Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer, the apotheosis of the first part of the programme, bursting with Lully like influences which were to have a strong influence on the young J. S. Bach.

A supreme testimony to a discreet harpsichordist with a captivating musicality, this recital Ich schlief, da träumte mir, has a highly original programme and often very subtle transitions. Bach's Komm süßer Tod followed by Kuhnau's Biblical Sonata No. 4 should not be enjoyed in any other way than on a stroll, especially as the instrument itself remains perpetually enchanting, with its incredibly deep bass and its stunningly beautiful lute playing; however if all this frightens you, perhaps start with the Sommeille from Graupner's Febrarius Suite: such a moment of capricious gentleness and sublime tenderness will undoubtedly not leave you by the side of the road!

Listen to 'Ich schlief, da träumte mir' by Anne Marie Dragosits now on Qobuz!

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