Flemish Early Keyboard Music:
Josse Boutmy

Dates: 1697 - 1779. Boutmy was an organist, harpsichordist and composer one generation later than John Loeillet. He played the organ at the court chapel, Brussels. He is best known for his harpsichord music, which consists of three books, described as 'livres de pieces'; there is no other title:

1. 1738
2. c1740-44
3. c1750

Summary from Grove:
The French influence is apparent in the first book, which contains two suites whose movements are arranged in a way reminiscent of the ordres of Francois Cuoperin. His character-pieces, personal tributes and style of ornamentation follow the tradition of the French clevecinistes. Nevetheless, the influence of Domenico Scarlatti is evident in his Italianate pieces, while the sequential passages and skilful modulations indicate a knowledge of Handel.

The second and third books are more dramatic, retaining the structure of the suite but having a greater number of descriptive or character titles. Some pieces are in sonata form, though rudimentary. In the third book a fashionable 'galant' style and familiarity with the music of CPE Bach are in evidence.

The pieces are generally more difficult than John Loeillet's Suites, and do not flow as easily.

1. The ornamentation is more awkward.
2. There is a lot of repetition within some of the pieces - repeated pairs of bars, for example.
3. Some of the music is rather 'breathless'; there are passages where one longs for a rest or a pause.

I have found on the piano that small alterations are necessary in certain pieces: reduction of the number of ornaments, playing the ornaments more slowly and/or in a simpler form than one would use on the harpsichord, and introducing small changes in the left hand when repeated bars occur.

There are also passages where a thinning-out of the left hand improves the clarity of the music. Nevertheless they repay serious study and are well worth playing.

There is a partial reprint in MMBelgicae (Antwerp 1943), ed. Suzanne Clercx, vol. 5, which is the edition I use. There is also a complete new edition which I found online (pub. Armelin Musica) but it's not cheap - 43 Euros.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity Website

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