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The publication of the Partitas led to some ferment among music lovers in Germany. Some praised the works, others criticised them, but always in terms which suggest that they represented a turning point in harpsichord composition. Following the lead of the theoretician Johann Mattheson, the critics' principal complaint was the extreme technical demands, and the complexity of writing. In his biography of Bach, Johann Nikolaus Forkel writes of the Partitas: »One has hitherto seldom seen or heard harpsichord compositions of such excellence. He who learned to play some of these pieces well, was able to do well with them in the world; and even in our time a young artist can gain honour with them - brilliant, pleasing, expressive, and constantly fresh as they are.«
With this recording, French harpsichordist Pascal Dubreuil sets a new benchmark in the interpretation of this oeuvre.
After having studied with Yannick Le Gaillard, PASCAL DUBREUIL graduated in both harpsichord and continuo at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. He continued his studies through participation in masterclasses given by Kenneth Gilbert and, notably, Gustav Leonhardt, as well as studying orchestral conducting with Nicolas Brochot. He was a laureate of the Bruges International Music Competition in 1997. He appears in concerts and recordings throughout France and many other European countries both as soloist and with other chamber musicians, playing harpsichord, clavichord, organ or fortepiano, principally with the Bratislava baroque orchestra Musica Aeterna, Claire Michon, Patrick Ayrton, François Fernandez and Bruno Boterf, and as continuo player with vocal ensembles such as Ensemble Vocal de l'Abbaye aux Dames de Saintes and Sagittarius. He is regularly invited to participate in festivals such as Printemps des Arts, Académies Musicales de Saintes, the Baroque Music Festival in Barcelona and the International Festival of Bratislava. Pascal Dubreuil teaches harpsichord and chamber music at the Conservatoire National de Région in Rennes, leading the Early Music department. He often serves as a member of the jury for examinations and teaches in seminars and master classes both in France and abroad. He also teaches chamber music and Baroque musical rhetoric at the Centre de Formation des Enseignants de la Danse et de la Musique in Poitiers.