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Monday, May 10, 2004
  Gigue: La Poste
Ennemond Gaultier/arr. Jean-Henri D'Anglebert
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 4 Track 43

D'Anglebert's tribute relocates La Poste. As we may recall, the middle section of Gaultier's composition indulges in the beautiful low sounds of the lute. In D'Anglebert's version these notes are placed in an unremarkable treble range. Clearly, D'Anglebert had the keys in front of him to be able to play Gaultier's peculiar gigue at pitch. It seems, however, tessitura was more important.

Since the soulful twang of the original could not be reproduced by the wooden mechanics of the 17th century keyboard, Jean-Henri felt no need to lean to the left in pursuit of pitches that, under his fingers, would sound muddy. The higher octave brings to the dance floor a well-centered keyboard player and a sharper, almost robotistic interpretation of the dance.

What I like about this gigue (in addition to the use of register) is the way it achieves a complex sound with simple ingredients. Basically, there are trills, scales, and chords. Because the individual parts are that simple, the listener is always able to comprehend. Because the aggregate is complex, the listener's attention is never lost. (It helps that the piece is no more than two minutes long--one, without repeats.)

Read also how a harpsichord works
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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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