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Charles Dieupart (c. 1667-1740): Six Suites de clavecin / Fernando Miguel Jalôto, harpsichord

Notes & Reviews:

French composer and harpsichordist Charles Dieupart spent much of his life in London, founding the opera season at the Queen's Theatre in the Haymarket that was designed to rival that of Drury Lane. It was in London that he became especially famous for his performances of music by Corelli and was also held in high regard as a harpsichord teacher. However, Dieupart's most enduring legacy is his Six Suittes de clavessin, published in Amsterdam by Estienne Roger and dedicated to his former pupil the Countess of Sandwich, Elizabeth Wilmot. These suites were so renowned in Europe that they were heavily drawn on by J.S. Bach, influencing his English Suites and establishing a link between French 7thcentury harpsichord music and the early German 18th-century keyboard style. In general, the works follow the standard order of a Baroque suite: only one, Suite No.2, replaces a Menuet with a Passepied, an unusual practice for the time. Although clearly French in character, the pieces also reveal Italian and even German influences. Tender and delicate in expression, they display some lively moments in the animated Gigues and Ouvertures, in the latter of which the composer strives to recreate the fullness of the orchestra with the solo instrument and capture the variety and richness of their operatic models. Dieupart reveals a penchant for beautifully cantabile melodies, sophisticated harmonies and most of all some highly elaborate ornamentation, skillfully interpreted here by Portuguese harpsichordist Fernando Miguel Jalôto. Jalôto's playing is based heavily on research; having studied with renowned musician Jacques Ogg, he completed his Masters degree before going on to study for a PhD in Historical Musicology, which greatly informs his approach to performance. Before starting on Dieupart's music, he carefully consulted contemporary treatises, thereafter taking the decision to vary the ornamentation, fill out the harmonies and adjust the inner parts. Performing these suites in their harpsichord only version (as opposed to the version with recorder, which is more frequently recorded), this is Jalôto's first release with Brilliant Classics.

American Record Guide, September/October 2015
Fernando Miguel Jaloto is a young Portuguese harpsichordist who is finishing a musicology degree. Well, his decisiveness sounds strong enough in here, and maybe he was just being modest. His added melodic ornamentation in the slower pieces is enterprising and musically imaginative. The left hand's touch could have been a bit lighter at the bar lines, given the generous resonance of the Belgian church where this was recorded. I like his remark at the end of his essay, summing up his justification for changing the music to suit his own "passion" for it: "If, while listening to this music, you feel even just a tiny fraction of the pleasure and joy that I experienced while performing it, my goal will have been fully achieved." No apology is necessary for musicianship this solid, or for his joy in playing, and he could have used even more flexibility of tempo than he did.

As is usual for Brilliant Classics, the price for Jaloto's set is less than the cost of a single disc from other companies. It's good value, and I like his sound better than Gremy-Chauliac's - she has a fine touch. This appears to be the debut solo recording by Miguel Jaloto, and I look forward to hearing more from him.


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