Here is a recording that at last does justice to the extraordinary music of Hotteterre. Hotteterre's music is surely some of the most lyrical and melodic music ever written for the transverse flute. It some of the first music ever written to feature the instrument. Dupré breathes new life into these three suites, which are both joyous and dark. The color produced by the skilled combination and variance of harpsichord, viola ga gamba, and theorbo playing the continuo part is fantastic. This is a superlative recording, worthy of a price many times what it is. I have heard several recordings of these suites, and this is certainly the best.
Interrelated traditions of keyboard and lute playing that flourished in German-speaking lands in the age immediately predating the invention of music printing have fascinated us ever since our very first encounter with the surviving repertoire that originated from these traditions. Fifteenth-century music for keyboard and plucked stringed instruments is without doubt an exciting area in the early history of European instrumental music, but one paradoxically seldom visited by performers and thus virtually unknown to the wider public. Many pieces are recorded here for the first time, and it is our hope that the present disc may contribute to restoring the remnants of a once flourishing and highly refined art to the place they deserve in the awareness of music lovers.
During the Meiji Restoration (1868-1912) a broad diffusion of Western music flowed into Japan, first in the form of military band music and. later, Protestant hymns. By 1900, recitals of piano, violin and song were quite popular. Composers like Prokofiev, and performers such as Heifetz, Kreisler and Segovia also encouraged this musical direction, which strongly followed German Romanticism and French Impressionism. The new Western repertoire found a place with the traditional Japanese music, hdgaku, and as the two traditions came in contact, a new and unique form of music emerged. One of the most fascinating developments in Japanese music was the introduction of new instruments in the south of Japan, and their metamorphosis as they migrated north via Kyoto and Tokyo. Several composers on this disc have focused on natural themes, with water being a favourite and obvious choice. The works have been chosen to give a sampling of the diversity of Japanese music, from the beautiful, traditional folk-songs to the complex and challenging multi-movement works, many of which evoke the traditional instruments, namely shakuhachi and koto.