Thursday – April 12, 2018
12:30 p.m. – UO Berwick Hall
“Le Goût Français? An Imaginary Dance Suite”
Louis Couperin (1626-1661) Prelude in a
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Suite a-moll BWV 818a
Jacques Champion de Chambonnières (1601-1672) Pieces in a
Fort gay (Bach)
Courante – Courante avec double (Chambonnières)
Courante (Chambonnières) – Courante (Bach)
Sarabande (Chambonnières) – Sarabande (Bach)
Between 1722 and 1725, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the six Harpsichords Suites BWV 812-817, Suites pour le Clavessin, that he dedicated to his second wife, Anna Magdalena. In contemporary editions like Neue Bach-Ausgabe, an additional Suite in A-Minor BWV 818 (1722) has been included to the compilation of those harpsichord pieces that are now commonly known as the French Suites. It is also known that it wasn’t the composer himself who titled his harpsichord pieces as “French”, but the name was given later. According to J. N. Forkel, “One usually calls them French Suites because they are written in the French manner” (“Man nennt sie gewöhnlich Französische Suiten, weil sie im Französischen Geschmack geschrieben sind” – Forkel). It has been claimed that Forkel was wrong assuming the six “small” suites are in the French manner as obviously, elements of Italian compositional style are prevailing there. What about le goût Français!? Was Forkel actually that wrong? Which musical elements could have made him see the pieces being written in the French style? Encouraged by the thoughts of celebrated early music scholar Bruce Haynes, I have allowed myself to take a different role in this concert-lecture as merely an “executioner” of the score. By juxtaposing the dances from Suite in a-minor BWV 818a with the dances by Jacques Champion de Chambonnières (1601-1672), I have created a brand new suite to illustrate and perhaps even to answer the questions raised above.
Saale Fischer is an Estonian harpsichordist, music educator and author. After graduating from Tallinn Techincal University (BA, 2005) she furthered her studies in early music and harpsichord at Tallinn Georg Ots Music School (teacher Reinut Tepp), Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (BA in 2007, prof. Imbi Tarum) and at the Musikhochschule Trossingen in Germany (MA in 2010, prof. Marieke Spaans). She has taken part in several master classes for harpsichord and chamber music with Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Jaques Ogg, Miklós Spanyi, Blandine Verlet and Ketil Haugsand, and obtained private tutoring in organ playing with Dr. Eberhard Schulz in Germany.
In 2006, Saale participated in the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig and in 2007 she was awarded the 2nd prize at the Dietrich Buxtehude Competition in Tallinn. Since 2007, Saale has primarily worked as a freelance harpsichordist, both as a soloist and a continuo-player, performing in numerous choral, orchestral and chamber music projects. In addition, she has also served as an organist in Catholic and Protestant churches in Germany and Egypt (2007-2013), been a pre-school music educator at Montessori Kindergarten „Kompass“ in Cairo (2011-2014), and initiated a musical playgroup for Estonian-speaking children in greater Cairo (2011-2014). In 2014, she returned to her native town Tallinn. Presently, Saale is a Ph.D. student at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. She teaches piano at Tallinn European School and performs as a soloist and continuo-player (harpsichord, organ, fortepiano) with baroque ensemble Floridante which she co-founded in 2014.
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