Saturday 15 August 2015

An attractive disc of Carolus Hacquart’s Suites for Viol, Op.3 from Pan Classics

Composer and instrumentalist Carolus Hacquart (c.1640-c.1701) was born in Bruges and worked in Amsterdam and The Hague. There is evidence to suggest that he left the Hague after 1696 and travelled to England. Hacquart was the composer of De triomfeerende Min (Triumphant Love) believed to be to be the first opera in the Dutch language and written on the occasion of the Treaty of Nijmegen of 1678.

Six of Hacquart’s Suites for Viol, Op.3 are performed by Guido Balestracci (bass viol) , Nicola Dal Maso (violone), Rafael Bonavita (arch lute)  and Massimiliano Taschetti (harpsichord and organ) on a release from Pan Classics of a 2003 recording made in the church of St. Giorgio, Pisa, Italy.

PC 10338
The Preludium of Suite in D major, Op. 3, No. 6 receives a slow sonorous opening, these players bringing a fine rich texture. The music soon gains a faster rhythmic tempo with some lively intricate passages finely done by these players before returning to the slow opening tempo. The Allemande has a fine flowing rhythmic pulse, these players lifting and shaping every phrase beautifully before a Courante that has a lovely rhythmic lilt. A leisurely Sarabande follows with some very fine little details emerging from the textures before concluding with a very fine Gigue, full of spirit and life with these players weaving some lovely sounds.

Suite in A minor, Op. 3, No. 10 has a rather melancholy air in the Preludium with these players bringing such fine, beautifully shaped phrases. It speeds to a dance rhythm before a slow coda. There is a more buoyant Allemande with lovely little decorations before a Courante that has a lovely rhythmic bounce. The Sarabande has a sad leisurely feel, these players finding so many lovely sonorities and textures before the Gigue moves off with energy and panache and some terrific ensemble from these artists.

The Fantasia of Suite in E minor, Op. 3, No. 8 is beautifully laid out with more lively moments, these players bringing much care and sensitivity. The Allemande receives a steady, nicely phrased and nuanced performance, then the players bring a fine rhythmic style to the Courante that moves quickly forward. Some particularly fine sounds unfold in the gentle Sarabande as these instrumentalists combine to create some fine sonorities before a terrific lively Gigue, the music really bouncing along.

Hacquart brings some very fine ideas to the Preludium Suite in C major, Op. 3, No. 12 with some gently and carefully varied tempi from these players. The Allemande has a rather more lively rhythmic forward flow before a Courante that shifts at a rapid pace; finely phrased. The Sarabande opens with a gentle flowing organ line with the archlute picking out a theme before the players all take the music forward developing some very fine passages. There is another very attractive Gigue to conclude, given a brilliantly sprung performance.

The violone rises up to take the Preludium of Suite in G minor, Op. 3, No. 11 forward with fine textures from the ensemble. The Allemande brings excellent phrasing together with a rhythmic insistence before the Courante where these players give lift to the phrases.  There is a gentle Sarabande that receives a subtle forward pulse and another lively Gigue to end.

The Preludium of Suite in F major, Op. 3, No. 9 has a slow opening that soon leads to a faster section with some particularly attractive ideas before the opening tempo returns. These artists bring a beautifully light, rhythmic lift to the Allemande as it moves ahead leading to a light rhythmically textured Courante. There is a melancholy Sarabande to which is brought some lovely textures and a Gigue that receives a performance which is full of energy and panache.

These players lift these pieces with some subtly varied tempi, textures and details bringing much to these very attractive works. The 2003 recording is fairly closely miked with fine detail, every instrument sounding through clearly, though with occasional resonance on deep chords. There are informative booklet notes.

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