Manchester, 14th-18th July 2004


Lucy Robinson (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, UK)

Forqueray Pièces de Viole (Paris 1747): an enigma of authorship between father and son

In 1747, two years after his father’s death, Jean-Baptiste Forqueray published the Pièces de Viole avec la Basse Continuë par Mr Forqueray Le Pere.  However far from being antiquated works from the era of Louis XIV, an analysis of the musical evidence—harmony and modulation, virtuosity, the delight in the unexpected, favoured forms and the length of the pieces—strengthened by comments in the Avertissement reveal the pieces to be progressive mid-18th-century works of Leclair’s circle, and thus the work of the son. This then poses the question: why should Jean-Baptiste, the greatest violist of his generation, publish his avant garde pieces under his deceased father’s name? Was it filial homage?  Or did the son believe that his father’s name would give a commercial advantage to an instrument whose popularity was waning? The mystery deepens when one learns that the father, likewise a phenomenal player, became so jealous of his son that he had him first imprisoned and later banished from France on pain of death.

Last updated on 25 May 2004