Jean Françaix – L’Insectarium

Jean Françaix - L'Insectarium 7in front cover
Jean Françaix - L'Insectarium 7in back cover
Jean Françaix - L'Insectarium 7in side 1

Composed in 1953, the short harpsichord cycle L’Insectarium (The Insectarium) by French composer Jean Françaix (1912–1997) was premiered in 1957 by the legendary harpsichord player Wanda Landowska. It is here interpreted by Marga Scheurich, a Johan Sebastian Bach specialist and member of Stuttgarter Collegium Instrumentale, and later Stuttgarter Kammermusikensemble and Stuttgarter Kammerorchester. German label Da Camera (founded 1962) published several harpsichord records with Scheurich in the 1960s, including  Pachelbel’s Hexachordum Apollinis 1699. Scheurich plays a German harpsichord with a specifically German Baroque sonority, not without its own charm, but not the kind of instrument one would expect in French harpsichord music. Anyway, her playing is lively and contrasted, as required by a colorful score inspired by the world of insects, as each part of L’Insectarium is named after, and inspired by, an insect.

01 La Scolopendre | The Scolopendra (1:03)
02 La Coccinelle | The Ladybird (2:46)
03 L’Argyronète | The Water Spider (1:52)
04 Les Talitres | Sand Hoppers (1:52)
05 Le Scarabée | The Stag Beetle (1:47)
06 Les Fourmis | Ants (1:13)

Marga Scheurich, harpsichord

Total time 10:30
7in single released by Da Camera, Germany, between 1962 and 1969


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4 Responses to “Jean Françaix – L’Insectarium”

  1. 1 newname July 25, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Must be a pleasure to discover such gems.
    Thank you.

  2. 2 continuo July 25, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    If it wasn’t a pleasure, I wouldn’t do it.

  3. 3 Acousmata July 26, 2012 at 4:15 am

    Amazing, amazing, amazing. And I haven’t even heard it yet.

  4. 4 continuo July 26, 2012 at 5:47 am

    It’s a lovely Germano-French bonbon.

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