October 29, 2023
French Harpsichord Salon
Harpsichordist Byron Schenkman shares some of their favorite keyboard music of the 18th century including works by Marie-Emmanuelle Bayon, Joseph Bologne, Jacques Duphly, Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, plus variations on a theme of Salieri by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
“Schenkman’s performances of this well-chosen, varied, and in some cases unusual repertoire are fluent, idiomatic, and engaging.”
– Daniel Hathaway, Early Music America
Joseph Bodin de Boismortier:
Suite no.2 in G Minor
La Serenissime – La Gauloise – La Rustique – La Choquante
Sonata No. 3
Adagio in F minor
6 Variations on “Mio caro Adone” by Antonio Salieri, K.180
Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre:
Chaconne in D (1707)
“Schenkman’s playing is exemplary: clear, without affectation and with subtle ornamentation.”
– Noel O’Regan, Early Music Review
Notes on the Program
By Byron Schenkman
Music for harpsichord reached its final flowering in France in the 18th century, a time of transition from the absolute rule of Louis XIV to the end of monarchy and to an increasingly influential middle class. Joseph Bodin de Boismortier was one of the first composers to support himself entirely through publishing music, with no reliance on royal or ecclesiastic patronage. The music of Jacques DuPhly, who died one day after the storming of the Bastille, combines the luscious harmonies of courtly French music with the virtuosity and popular appeal of newly fashionable Italian concertos. Marie-Emmanuelle Bayon (later Bayon- Louis) and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre both hosted their own salons in Paris, while also enjoying royal and aristocratic patronage. Joseph Bologne (Chevalier de Saint Georges), son of a French aristocrat and an enslaved girl of Senegalese descent, was of the most celebrated violinist-composers of the late 18th century. And Wolfgang Mozart had a close connection with Bologne in Paris, the city where Mozart’s variations on a theme of Salieri were first published.
We are honored to present this program of 18th-century French keyboard music on a French harpsichord by Craig Tomlinson modeled after a 1769 original by Pascal Taskin. Many thanks to Lola Wolf for her loan of this special instrument.