Journal Article

Forqueray <i>Pieces de Viole</i> (Paris, 1747): an enigma of authorship between father and son

Lucy Robinson

in Early Music

Volume 34, issue 2, pages 259-276
ISSN: 0306-1078
Published online April 2006 | e-ISSN: 1741-7260 | DOI:
Forqueray Pieces de Viole (Paris, 1747): an enigma of authorship between father and son

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In 1747, two years after his father's death, Jean-Baptiste Forqueray (1699–1782) published the Pieces de Viole avec la Basse Continuë Composées par Mr Forqueray Le Pere. However, far from being antiquated works from the era of Louis XIV, the combined evidence of Jean-Baptiste's remarks in the avertissement, a comparison of the manuscript pieces surviving by Antoine Forqueray (1672–1745) [le père] with the Pieces de Viole (which reveals a huge stylistic and technical evolution), and the similarity of the harmony and the virtuoso demands with that of the violin sonatas of Leclair shows the pieces to be progressive mid-18th-century works of Leclair's circle, and thus effectively the work of the son. This then poses the question: why should Jean-Baptiste, the greatest violist of his generation, publish what are essentially 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.

Keywords: Antoine Forqueray; French Baroque; Jean-Baptiste Forqueray; Jean-Marie Leclair; viol

Journal Article.  7291 words.  Illustrated.

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