Jean-Henri d’Anglebert: Notes and Commentary

Jean-Henri d’Anglebert was a French composer, harpsichordist and organist. He was one of the foremost keyboard composers of his day. His s principal work is a collection of four harpsichord suites published in 1689 in Paris under the title Pièces de clavecin. The volume is dedicated to Marie Anne de Bourbon, a talented amateur harpsichordist who later studied under François Couperin. Apart from its contents, which represents some of the finest achievements of the French harpsichord school (and shows, among other things, D’Anglebert’s thorough mastery of counterpoint and his substantial contribution to the genre of unmeasured prelude), Pièces de clavecin is historically important on several other counts. The collection was beautifully engraved with utmost care, which set a new standard for music engraving. Furthermore, D’Anglebert’s table of ornaments is the most sophisticated before Couperin’s (which only appeared a quarter of a century later, in 1713). It formed the basis of J.S. Bach’s own table of ornaments (Bach copied D’Anglebert’s table ca. 1710), and provided a model for other composers, including Rameau. Finally, D’Anglebert’s original pieces are presented together with his arrangements of Lully’s orchestral works. He lived from April 1629 to April 23, 1691.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

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