HOTTETERRE: Music for Flute, Vol. 2 (Jean-Francois Bouges/ Laurence Pottier/ Philippe Allain-Dupre/ Philippe Pierlot/ Yasuko Uyama-Bouvard) (Naxos: 8.553708)
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Jacques Hotteterre, "Le Romain":Music for Flute Vol. 2
JacquesHotteterre, called le Romain, isone of the most illustrious figures in the history of the transverse flute. Atthe same time a distinguished performer, an enlightened teacher and a recognisedcomposer, he brought to the Baroque flute full respectability through his Livres de pi?¿ces (Books of Pieces), L'Art de Prelude (The Art of the Prelude)and his Principes de la Fl??te (principlesof the Flute). There are various confusions relating to Jacques Hotteterre, towhom the invention of the three-section Baroque flute is of !en wronglyattributed, whereas he was only its populariser.
Memberof a great family of instrument-makers originating from Couture-Boussey inNormandy, Hotteterre was born in Paris on 29th September 1673. His father,Martin (1648-1712), was then a well known master instrument-maker, inventor ofthe little chalumeau on the musette and very probably the creator of the firstGerman flutes in three sections, used from 1681 in Lully's orchestra.
JacquesHotteterre and his brother Jean, known as the Elder (?-1720) had a goodtraining and both learned the art of instrument-making. While the latter seemsto have succeeded his father as a maker, the former preferred the ceremony of thecourt to the friendly atmosphere of the workshop. He followed his father as Grand Hautbois du Roi, a position thatopened the way for him to the privileged royal musical establishment, the Chambre du Roi. From 1797 he began hismusical career as a composer and teacher. It was in this year that he publishedhis well known treatise Principes de lafl??te traversi?¿re ou d'Allemagne, de la fl??te ?á bec ou fl??te douce et duhautbois (principles of the Transverse or German Flute, of theRecorder or Flauto Dolce and ofthe Oboe), which was re-issued many times up to 1765 and was translated intoFlemish and even pirated in English.
In1708 Hotteterre had published by Christophe Ballard his collection Pi?¿ces pour la fl??te traversi?¿re et autresinstruments avec la basse continue (pieces for Transverse Flute andOther Instruments with Basso Continuo),announcing himself as Fl??te de la Chambre duRoy (Flautist of the Royal Chamber), dedicating the work to theKing. The preface is particularly eloquent. TOTHE KING, Sire, the favourable attention that YOUR MAJESTY has deigned tobestow on me since I had the honour of playing these Pieces in your presencehas today inspired my boldness inpresenting them to you. What happier success could I wish for them than that offilling some of those moments when the greatest King of the world wishes toescape from his glorious occupations. It is an advantage, SIRE, for which I amuniquely obliged to the extreme kindness of YOUR MAJESTY and it is to mark myvery humble recognition of this that I takethe liberty of dedicating to you these Pieces, flattering myself that mytribute will not be rejected, nor the protestation that I make of being all mylife with zealous ardour and the deepestrespect, SIRE, YOUR MAJESTY's very humble, very obedient and very faithfulServant and Subject HOTTETERRE.
Thesuccess was doubtless immediate, but better to understand the reason it isnecessary to place the work in its musical context.
Thefirst collection published for flutes, straight and transverse, was that ofMarin Marais, in 1692, Pi?¿ces en trio pourles fl??tes, violon et dessus de viole (Trio Pieces for Flutes,Violin and Treble Viol). Two years later, Michel de la Barre, aiso a musicianof the Chambre du Roy, presentedhis Pi?¿ces en trio pour les violons, fl??teset hautbois (Trio Pieces for Violins, Flutes and Oboes) to thepublic, who seemed to appreciate them, as the Dutch edition in 1696, by Rogerin Amsterdam, bears witness, and another French edition, again by Ballard, in1707. A second collection of Pi?¿ces en trio waspublished in 1700 and enjoyed the same success as the flfst.
Itwas not until 1702 that there appeared a collection of Pi?¿ces pour la fl??te traversi?¿re et la basse continue(pieces for the Transverse Flute and Basso Continuo), again byMichel de la Barre, which marked the beginning of a style of writingspecifically for a treble instrument and bassocontinuo.
Whenin 1708 the collection of Pi?¿ces pour lafl??te traversiere (piecesfor the Transverse Flute) of Jacques Hotteterre was published, flautists onlyhad for their repertoire the suites by de La Barre. Their style, very similar,much inspired by the music of Lully, has a touch of the Italian, as the gigues L 'Italienne and La perousine show. Was this as the resuItof a journey to Rome? There is no document to support the suggestion thatHotteterre went to Italy, except his nickname LeRomain (The Roman), that he perhaps had to assume to avoid confusionwith other members of his family, or, very simply, because he appreciated, morethan others, Italian music, as the arrangements he made in 1721 of sonatas byTorelli and Valentino show.
This first collection won public favour, sincea second edition, issued this time by Foucault, appeared in 1715. The Deuxieme livre de pieces (Second Book ofPieces), published in the same year as the new edition of the first, is quitedifferent. Although it similarly contains suites of pieces, four in number,none of these has a title; the last two are designated by the double name ofsuite sonate, but they are in fact suites, as is shown by the number of piecesand above all by their dance titles. Hotteterre, however, has moved away fromdescriptive writing to add depth to the music itself, in particular in thegrave movements. Each of the pieces has great melodic richness and the masteryof the dance-form, still evident, gives way to a more expressive style in whichthe sU1lcture is no longer the principal frame-work.
Among other works, containing the Sonates en trio (Opus 3 of 1712), the Suites a deux dessus sans basse (Suitesfor Two Treble Instruments without Bass, Opus4, 6 and 8 of 1712, 171 7 and 1722), L 'Art de preluder (The Art of Preluding, Opus 7) and the Methode de musette (Opus10 of 1722), two pieces very characteristic of Hotteterre's stylehave been chosen for this release. These are the Premiere suite a deux dessus sans basse (First Suite for TwoTreble Instruments without Bass), published in 1712, and one of the two Preludes from L 'Art de preluder. The title-page of the former shows thatthe First Suite can be played by two transverse flutes, two recorders or twoviols. Hotteterre adds:
"When it is desired to play these pieceson the recorder, those that go down too low should be transposed up a third.
The second parts can be played on the viol, using the upper strings."
The first piece suggests a French overture.
The second, an Allemande, has a strict form in quadruple metre and the composerdirects, in L 'Art de preluder:
"It is taken in four and usually veryslowly, the quavers are equal...and the semi-quavers are dotted, that is to sayone long and one short..."
The Rondeau:Les Tourterelles, gracieusement et un peu lent (Rondeau: TheTurtle-Doves, gracefully and rather slow) is a piece in subdued shades.
Hotteterre allows the feeling to open out. The rondeaustructure is perfectly mastered and the use of portamento, slurs and h