First, de Caix’s sonatas are uncharacteristically demanding for the pardessus. The fivestring pardessus’s main function was to borrow from the vast repertoire of baroque chamber sonatas and suites for bass viol, violin, recorder, flute and oboe for private music-making by women amateurs. Although public performers on the pardessus were reputed to perform concerti, the vast majority of the more than two hundred published works that mention the pardessus on their title page, and the fifty or so works written specifically for the instrument, fall into two basic genres: “galant” solo suites and sonatas with basso continuo, and pastoral treble duets intended to be played in combination with rustic instruments like the recorder, musette, and vielle à roue. While some works contain difficult passages, none are remotely as challenging as the de Caix, either technically or musically. Twenty-first century pardessus players categorize these sonatas as some of the hardest viol music ever written, on a par with Forqueray, Graun and Kühnel. Next, de Caix seems to have employed every bit of idiomatic violin technique he could – bariolage, double and triple stops, high position work, complicated bowings and extended slurs, as well as using such extreme keys as A major and C minor. Indeed, there is a strong stylistic similarity between his treble duos and the violin duos of Jean-Marie Leclair, a longtime family friend.
Tina Chancey (source/font: aquí)
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