P. Royer (c.1705-1755): Complete Music for Harpsichord / Yago Mahugo


Entire programs of the harpsichord music of Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer have been recorded by such illustrious harpsichordists as Christophe Rousset and William Christie on the L'Oiseau Lyre and Harmonia Mundi labels respectively - but neither are currently available. Just issued by Brilliant Classics, this new recording of Royer's Premiere livre de pièces pour clavecin (1746) by harpsichordist Yago Mahugo restores Royer's deserving music to the catalog.

Royer was active during the golden age of harpsichord music in France that began with Jean-Henri d'Anglebert and Louis Couperin, and culminated in the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau. Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer (1705-1755) was a relative contemporary of Rameau; as an additional point of reference, he was also one of J.S. Bach. His output for the instrument was considerably less than Rameau's - i.e., it all fits on this one CD. Like Rameau, Royer was a composer of opera, and music for the theatre by both composers found its way into their harpsichord pieces.

Typical of the period, Royer's music, based largely on dance forms, is highly ornamented and marked by strong contrasts in tempo and fast chord changes. Calling for dense outpourings of sound, it is very "thick" at times. Mahugo's harpsichord sounds appropriately robust. It is a two-manual instrument modeled after one of 1638 by Johannes Ruckers of the illustrious Ruckers family of harpsichord builders. Brilliant Classics provides full, crisp sound for Mahugo's exciting performances. The sound sample we've provided is a passage that is on the previously mentioned thick side of the scale for Royer's music.

Watch Yago Mahugo perform P. Royer's Le Marche des Scythes on Harpsichord.