|About this Recording
8.553708 - HOTTETERRE: Music for Flute, Vol. 2 - Deuxieme livre de pieces
Jacques Hotteterre, "Le Romain": Music for Flute Vol. 2
Jacques Hotteterre, called le Romain, is one of the most illustrious figures in the history of the transverse flute. At the same time a distinguished performer, an enlightened teacher and a recognised composer, he brought to the Baroque flute full respectability through his Livres de pièces (Books of Pieces), L'Art de Prélude (The Art of the Prelude) and his Principes de la Flûte (principles of the Flute). There are various confusions relating to Jacques Hotteterre, to whom the invention of the three-section Baroque flute is of !en wrongly attributed, whereas he was only its populariser.
Member of a great family of instrument-makers originating from Couture-Boussey in Normandy, Hotteterre was born in Paris on 29th September 1673. His father, Martin (1648-1712), was then a well known master instrument-maker, inventor of the little chalumeau on the musette and very probably the creator of the first German flutes in three sections, used from 1681 in Lully's orchestra.
Jacques Hotteterre and his brother Jean, known as the Elder (?-1720) had a good training and both learned the art of instrument-making. While the latter seems to have succeeded his father as a maker, the former preferred the ceremony of the court to the friendly atmosphere of the workshop. He followed his father as Grand Hautbois du Roi, a position that opened the way for him to the privileged royal musical establishment, the Chambre du Roi. From 1797 he began his musical career as a composer and teacher. It was in this year that he published his well known treatise Principes de la flûte traversière ou d'Allemagne, de la flûte à bec ou flûte douce et du hautbois (principles of the Transverse or German Flute, of the Recorder or Flauto Dolce and of the Oboe), which was re-issued many times up to 1765 and was translated into Flemish and even pirated in English.
In 1708 Hotteterre had published by Christophe Ballard his collection Pièces pour la flûte traversière et autres instruments avec la basse continue (pieces for Transverse Flute and Other Instruments with Basso Continuo), announcing himself as Flûte de la Chambre du Roy (Flautist of the Royal Chamber), dedicating the work to the King. The preface is particularly eloquent. TO THE KING, Sire, the favourable attention that YOUR MAJESTY has deigned to bestow on me since I had the honour of playing these Pieces in your presence has today inspired my boldness in presenting them to you. What happier success could I wish for them than that of filling some of those moments when the greatest King of the world wishes to escape from his glorious occupations. It is an advantage, SIRE, for which I am uniquely obliged to the extreme kindness of YOUR MAJESTY and it is to mark my very humble recognition of this that I take the liberty of dedicating to you these Pieces, flattering myself that my tribute will not be rejected, nor the protestation that I make of being all my life with zealous ardour and the deepest respect, SIRE, YOUR MAJESTY's very humble, very obedient and very faithful Servant and Subject HOTTETERRE.
The success was doubtless immediate, but better to understand the reason it is necessary to place the work in its musical context.
The first collection published for flutes, straight and transverse, was that of Marin Marais, in 1692, Pièces en trio pour les flûtes, violon et dessus de viole (Trio Pieces for Flutes, Violin and Treble Viol). Two years later, Michel de la Barre, aiso a musician of the Chambre du Roy, presented his Pièces en trio pour les violons, flûtes et hautbois (Trio Pieces for Violins, Flutes and Oboes) to the public, who seemed to appreciate them, as the Dutch edition in 1696, by Roger in Amsterdam, bears witness, and another French edition, again by Ballard, in 1707. A second collection of Pièces en trio was published in 1700 and enjoyed the same success as the flfst.
It was not until 1702 that there appeared a collection of Pièces pour la flûte traversière et la basse continue (pieces for the Transverse Flute and Basso Continuo), again by Michel de la Barre, which marked the beginning of a style of writing specifically for a treble instrument and basso continuo.
When in 1708 the collection of Pièces pour la flûte traversiere (pieces for the Transverse Flute) of Jacques Hotteterre was published, flautists only had for their repertoire the suites by de La Barre. Their style, very similar, much inspired by the music of Lully, has a touch of the Italian, as the gigues L 'Italienne and La perousine show. Was this as the resuIt of a journey to Rome? There is no document to support the suggestion that Hotteterre went to Italy, except his nickname Le Romain (The Roman), that he perhaps had to assume to avoid confusion with other members of his family, or, very simply, because he appreciated, more than others, Italian music, as the arrangements he made in 1721 of sonatas by Torelli and Valentino show.
This first collection won public favour, since a second edition, issued this time by Foucault, appeared in 1715. The Deuxieme livre de pieces (Second Book of Pieces), published in the same year as the new edition of the first, is quite different. Although it similarly contains suites of pieces, four in number, none of these has a title; the last two are designated by the double name of suite sonate, but they are in fact suites, as is shown by the number of pieces and above all by their dance titles. Hotteterre, however, has moved away from descriptive writing to add depth to the music itself, in particular in the grave movements. Each of the pieces has great melodic richness and the mastery of the dance-form, still evident, gives way to a more expressive style in which the sU1lcture is no longer the principal frame-work.
Among other works, containing the Sonates en trio (Opus 3 of 1712), the Suites a deux dessus sans basse (Suites for Two Treble Instruments without Bass, Opus 4, 6 and 8 of 1712, 171 7 and 1722), L 'Art de preluder (The Art of Preluding, Opus 7) and the Methode de musette (Opus 10 of 1722), two pieces very characteristic of Hotteterre's style have been chosen for this release. These are the Premiere suite a deux dessus sans basse (First Suite for Two Treble Instruments without Bass), published in 1712, and one of the two Preludes from L 'Art de preluder. The title-page of the former shows that the First Suite can be played by two transverse flutes, two recorders or two viols. Hotteterre adds:
"When it is desired to play these pieces on the recorder, those that go down too low should be transposed up a third. The second parts can be played on the viol, using the upper strings."
The first piece suggests a French overture. The second, an Allemande, has a strict form in quadruple metre and the composer directs, in L 'Art de preluder:
"It is taken in four and usually very slowly, the quavers are equal...and the semi-quavers are dotted, that is to say one long and one short..."
The Rondeau: Les Tourterelles, gracieusement et un peu lent (Rondeau: The Turtle-Doves, gracefully and rather slow) is a piece in subdued shades. Hotteterre allows the feeling to open out. The rondeau structure is perfectly mastered and the use of portamento, slurs and harmonic delays gives the composition a languishing character that the title confirms. This piece ought to be played with unequal notes, making the dialogue still more tender.
In the second rondeau gay the composer makes no further use of slurs and his writing is livelier. The use of repeated notes, that should be quite separate, gives the piece a cheerful energy that is in contrast with the preceding movement.
The Gigue, in the Italian style, as always with Hotteterre, brings equality between the two upper parts. Far from writing a second accompanying part, the composer has provided a second treble part of equal importance with the first. This ability demonstrates the composer's musical gifts to be developed in the final passacaglia. This last consists of 153 bars in two tonalities, B minor and B major, and is almost perfect in its structure. Motifs of four and a half bars are always repeated twice, except in variations 5, 6 and 7. Variation 5 has nine bars, twice repeated; variation 6 has four and a half bars once, not repeated; variation 7 has sixteen bars, not repeated. It is in this kind of piece that the composer's imagination is given expression, since the repetitions can tire the listener if no new musical idea is occasionally introduced. In this passacaglia Hotteterre shows all his musical qualities: tenderness in the slurring and ornamentation or virtuosity in the short notes, lively ornaments and scales in semi-quavers.
With >L 'Art de preluder Hotteterre offers again a work that is more didactic than musical, Here the teacher returns and seems to want to protect his music, and, more generally, the music of his time, against the chance interpretations of the players of his own time or of later generations, It might be suggested that Hotteterre was in some ways reactionary. If Chapters III, N and VI are "models of preludes through which talent can begin to be formed", Chapter XI " Of different kinds of bars, with explanations of quavers etc..." explains exactly where every good musician should dot quavers, that is to say treat them as unequal notes. There is no need to say that this chapter cannot be ignored by any who want to perform as faithfully as possible French music of the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries. Perhaps he was right to be on his guard, in view of some of the interpretations we hear today. Baroque music is not played as it is written; it is necessary to have the key to discover its secrets and to give it its full strength.
Two preludes, stemming from this work, are found at the end of the volume. In that in G minor. played here by the recorder. the style of Jacques le Romain is revealed in its clearest form in which a quality shows through. French spirit, precision, balance and moderation.
When he died in 1763 the transverse flute of his youth had developed but owed certainly a great deal to him. Thanks to his writing, he will remain more than just a name in the history of flute literature that was to receive added brilliance from the work of his successors Blavet and Buffardin.
English version: Keith Anderson
Philippe Allain-Dupré (Baroque transverse
Laurence Pottier (Baroque recorder)
Yasuko Uyama-Bouvard (harpsichord)
Philippe Pierlot (viola da gamba)
Jean-François Bouges (second flute, Première
Suite a deux dessus)
Close the window