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Jacques Hotteterre, "Le Romain":
Music for Flute Vol. 2
Hotteterre, called le Romain, is
one of the most illustrious figures in the history of the transverse flute. At
the same time a distinguished performer, an enlightened teacher and a recognised
composer, he brought to the Baroque flute full respectability through his Livres de pièces (Books of Pieces), L'Art de Prélude (The Art of the Prelude)
and his Principes de la Flûte (principles
of the Flute). There are various confusions relating to Jacques Hotteterre, to
whom the invention of the three-section Baroque flute is of !en wrongly
attributed, whereas he was only its populariser.
of a great family of instrument-makers originating from Couture-Boussey in
Normandy, Hotteterre was born in Paris on 29th September 1673. His father,
Martin (1648-1712), was then a well known master instrument-maker, inventor of
the little chalumeau on the musette and very probably the creator of the first
German flutes in three sections, used from 1681 in Lully's orchestra.
Hotteterre and his brother Jean, known as the Elder (?-1720) had a good
training and both learned the art of instrument-making. While the latter seems
to have succeeded his father as a maker, the former preferred the ceremony of the
court to the friendly atmosphere of the workshop. He followed his father as Grand Hautbois du Roi, a position that
opened the way for him to the privileged royal musical establishment, the Chambre du Roi. From 1797 he began his
musical career as a composer and teacher. It was in this year that he published
his well known treatise Principes de la
flûte traversière ou d'Allemagne, de la flûte à bec ou flûte douce et du
hautbois (principles of the Transverse or German Flute, of the
Recorder or Flauto Dolce and of
the Oboe), which was re-issued many times up to 1765 and was translated into
Flemish and even pirated in English.
1708 Hotteterre had published by Christophe Ballard his collection Pièces pour la flûte traversière et autres
instruments avec la basse continue (pieces for Transverse Flute and
Other Instruments with Basso Continuo),
announcing himself as Flûte de la Chambre du
Roy (Flautist of the Royal Chamber), dedicating the work to the
King. The preface is particularly eloquent. TO
THE KING, Sire, the favourable attention that YOUR MAJESTY has deigned to
bestow on me since I had the honour of playing these Pieces in your presence
has today inspired my boldness in
presenting them to you. What happier success could I wish for them than that of
filling some of those moments when the greatest King of the world wishes to
escape from his glorious occupations. It is an advantage, SIRE, for which I am
uniquely obliged to the extreme kindness of YOUR MAJESTY and it is to mark my
very humble recognition of this that I take
the liberty of dedicating to you these Pieces, flattering myself that my
tribute will not be rejected, nor the protestation that I make of being all my
life with zealous ardour and the deepest
respect, SIRE, YOUR MAJESTY's very humble, very obedient and very faithful
Servant and Subject HOTTETERRE.
success was doubtless immediate, but better to understand the reason it is
necessary to place the work in its musical context.
first collection published for flutes, straight and transverse, was that of
Marin Marais, in 1692, Pièces en trio pour
les flûtes, violon et dessus de viole (Trio Pieces for Flutes,
Violin and Treble Viol). Two years later, Michel de la Barre, aiso a musician
of the Chambre du Roy, presented
his Pièces en trio pour les violons, flûtes
et hautbois (Trio Pieces for Violins, Flutes and Oboes) to the
public, who seemed to appreciate them, as the Dutch edition in 1696, by Roger
in Amsterdam, bears witness, and another French edition, again by Ballard, in
1707. A second collection of Pièces en trio was
published in 1700 and enjoyed the same success as the flfst.
was not until 1702 that there appeared a collection of Pièces pour la flûte traversière et la basse continue
(pieces for the Transverse Flute and Basso Continuo), again by
Michel de la Barre, which marked the beginning of a style of writing
specifically for a treble instrument and basso
in 1708 the collection of Pièces pour la
flûte traversiere (pieces
for the Transverse Flute) of Jacques Hotteterre was published, flautists only
had 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 resuIt
of a journey to Rome? There is no document to support the suggestion that
Hotteterre went to Italy, except his nickname Le
Romain (The Roman), that he perhaps had to assume to avoid confusion
with other members of his family, or, very simply, because he appreciated, more
than others, Italian music, as the arrangements he made in 1721 of sonatas by
Torelli and Valentino show.
This first collection won public favour, since
a second edition, issued this time by Foucault, appeared in 1715. The Deuxieme livre de pieces (Second Book of
Pieces), published in the same year as the new edition of the first, is quite
different. 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 of
suite sonate, but they are in fact suites, as is shown by the number of pieces
and above all by their dance titles. Hotteterre, however, has moved away from
descriptive writing to add depth to the music itself, in particular in the
grave movements. Each of the pieces has great melodic richness and the mastery
of the dance-form, still evident, gives way to a more expressive style in which
the 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 (Suites
for Two Treble Instruments without Bass, Opus
4, 6 and 8 of 1712, 171 7 and 1722), L 'Art de preluder (The Art of Preluding, Opus 7) and the Methode de musette (Opus
10 of 1722), two pieces very characteristic of Hotteterre's style
have been chosen for this release. These are the Premiere suite a deux dessus sans basse (First Suite for Two
Treble Instruments without Bass), published in 1712, and one of the two Preludes from L 'Art de preluder. The title-page of the former shows that
the First Suite can be played by two transverse flutes, two recorders or two
viols. Hotteterre adds:
"When it is desired to play these pieces
on 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 composer
directs, in L 'Art de preluder:
"It is taken in four and usually very
slowly, the quavers are equal...and the semi-quavers are dotted, that is to say
one long and one short..."
Les Tourterelles, gracieusement et un peu lent (Rondeau: The
Turtle-Doves, gracefully and rather slow) is a piece in subdued shades.
Hotteterre allows the feeling to open out. The rondeau
structure is perfectly mastered and the use of portamento, slurs and harmonic delays
gives the composition a languishing character that the title confirms. This
piece ought to be played with unequal notes, making the dialogue still more
In the second rondeau
gay the composer makes no further use of slurs and his writing is
livelier. The use of repeated notes, that should be quite separate, gives the
piece a cheerful energy that is in contrast with the preceding movement.
The Gigue, in
the Italian style, as always with Hotteterre, brings equality between the two
upper parts. Far from writing a second accompanying part, the composer has
provided a second treble part of equal importance with the first. This ability
demonstrates the composer's musical gifts to be developed in the final passacaglia. This last consists of 153
bars in two tonalities, B minor and B major, and is almost perfect in its
structure. Motifs of four and a half bars are always repeated twice, except in
variations 5, 6 and 7. Variation 5 has nine bars, twice repeated; variation 6
has four and a half bars once, not repeated; variation 7 has sixteen bars, not
repeated. It is in this kind of piece that the composer's imagination is given
expression, since the repetitions can tire the listener if no new musical idea
is occasionally introduced. In this passacaglia
Hotteterre shows all his musical qualities: tenderness in the
slurring and ornamentation or virtuosity in the short notes, lively ornaments
and scales in semi-quavers.
With >L 'Art
de preluder Hotteterre offers again a work that is more didactic
than musical, Here the teacher returns and seems to want to protect his music,
and, more generally, the music of his time, against the chance interpretations
of the players of his own time or of later generations, It might be suggested
that Hotteterre was in some ways reactionary. If Chapters III, N and VI are
"models of preludes through which talent can begin to be formed", Chapter XI " Of different kinds of
bars, with explanations of quavers etc..." explains exactly where every
good musician should dot quavers, that is to say treat them as unequal notes.
There is no need to say that this chapter cannot be ignored by any who want to
perform as faithfully as possible French music of the end of the seventeenth
and beginning of the eighteenth centuries. Perhaps he was right to be on his
guard, in view of some of the interpretations we hear today. Baroque music is
not played as it is written; it is necessary to have the key to discover its
secrets and to give it its full strength.
Two preludes, stemming from this work, are
found at the end of the volume. In that in G minor. played here by the
recorder. the style of Jacques le Romain is revealed in its clearest form in
which a quality shows through. French spirit, precision, balance and
When he died in 1763 the transverse flute of
his youth had developed but owed certainly a great deal to him. Thanks to his
writing, he will remain more than just a name in the history of flute
literature that was to receive added brilliance from the work of his successors
Blavet and Buffardin.
English version: Keith Anderson
Philippe Allain-Dupré (Baroque transverse
Philippe Allain-Dupré studied with Barthold Kujiken at the Brussels
Conservatoire Royale. He specialises in three kinds of wooden transverse
flutes, the cylindrical flute of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the
single- key Baroque flute and the multiple-key classical flute of the first
half of the nineteenth century. He plays instruments that he has made himself,
copying those preserved in museums. He teaches at the Conservatoires in
Toulouse and in Paris and has taken part in many recordings of French Baroque
music on original instruments, notably recordings of the Flute Concerto of
Leclair, the Suites en trio of Marin Marais, the Paris Quartets of Telemann,
the Flute Sonatas of Blavet and several releases of French cantatas by Rameau,
Boismortier, Campra and Clérambault.
Laurence Pottier (Baroque recorder)
Holder since January 1991 of the Recorder Certificat d'Aptitude,
Laurence Pottier in 1993 was awarded her doctorate in musicology at the
Sorbonne with a thesis on the recorder repertoire in France in the Baroque
period. With an equal interest in contemporary music, she has collaborated with
the dance-company Chorégraphe in two works, Numina and Dam'oisel, given at the
Lille Opera and the Hippodrome in Douai. Laurence Pottier teaches at the
Conservatoire de Châtillon and the Conservatoire du IXe arrondissement in
Paris, as well as in various courses in France and Brazil. She plays an
instrument that is a reproduction of a recorder by the French
eighteenth-century flute-maker, Charles Bizey, made by Philippe Bolton.
Yasuko Uyama-Bouvard (harpsichord)
Born in Kyoto, Yasuko Uyama-Bouvard studied
with Michel Chapuis and Huguette Dreyfus and is organist at Notre Dame du Taur
in Toulouse. She teaches at the Conservatoires of Toulouse and Montauban.
Philippe Pierlot (viola da gamba)
Philippe Pierlot plays a seven-string viola da
gamba by François Bodart. He directs the Ricercar Consort, with which he has
recorded several discs for the company of the same name, in particular the viol
suites of Marin Marais. He teaches the viol in Liege, Toulouse and Trossingen.
Jean-François Bouges (second flute, Première
Suite a deux dessus)
Jean-François Bouges teaches the flute at Cahors.