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Monday, May 10, 2004
  Lamentation faite sur la mort tres douloureuse de Sa Majeste Imperiale Ferdinand le troisieme et se joue lentement avec discretion
Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-1667)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 4 Track 44

It was Froberger's affection for Frescobaldi that made the suite a suite. Because so much time has passed, this lament recalls not the sad fading of the Holy Roman Empire but the precedent for a collection of six pieces that have made many a 'cello player's career. The souvenirs of Froberger's travels explain why a later provincial composer in Leipzig would be writing pieces with French titles and Italian counterpoint. And this is a historical development almost as important as Leopold's rise to power.

The style brise we heard in Jean-Henri's contribution abounds under Froberger's fingers. The gangly harpsichord imitating the romantic lute is almost forgotten by modern audiences. Curiously, we now have the opportunity to hear the angular result of that effort in a different context. The twice romantic 'cello imitates the gangly harpsichord imitating the romantic lute which, for brief moments, has the disjunct melodic motion most would associate with the heroic and lyrical serial composers.

What I like about this lament is the rhythm and chromaticism of the bass line. Although it does not come across too strongly on keyboard, this is a four-voiced tune. The bass voice is the one that establishes the slow pace and circumspect attitude Froberger wanted.

Read also about Ferdinand III
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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.

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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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