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Classical - Released April 13, 2018 | L'Encelade
For the benefit of those listeners who think that one harpsichord is pretty much like another, and that they all sound the same, we strongly recommend this album from Marouan Mankar-Bennis – a follower of Olivier Beaumont, Bob van Asperen and Pierre Hantaï, and who is now performing with Vincent Dumestre and his Poème Harmonique, amongst many other projects – which is dedicated to Jean-François Dandrieu (1682 - 1738). This is an imaginary suite, concocted by Mankar-Bennis and based on the four Livres for harpsichord, respectively published in 1705 ("Livre de jeunesse"), 1724 ("Premier livre"), 1728 and 1734, whose individual movements he has arranged into a great fresco, in the manner of a lyrical tragedy à la Lully: aPrologue of five pieces form a suite, and then five acts, each considered like a suite in its own right. The richness of the instruments here is extraordinary – they were picked out personally by Mankar-Bennis, of course – a copy of a Flemish harpsichord from the 17th century made by Joannes Couche, and a copy of a French instrument from the mid-18th century. By playing with the registers and the lute stops (the entire Prologue is played on the lute stops, although a listener would hardly expect that that's the only string to that particular bow), he draws out an incredible richness from his instruments, running from cannon blasts on Caractères de la guerre played "with the flat of the hand" as per Dandrieu's instructions (an ancestor to the cluster, then), to the songbird chirruping of the harpsichord's upper range on Le Concert des oiseaux, a foretaste of Messiaen if ever there was one. This is one for anyone not yet sold on the harpsichord...© SM/Qobuz
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