About this work
This is the last of the suites in Froberger's Libro Quartos of 1656, a manuscript collection of works by Froberger organized by genre with six works of each type. The calligraphy in the collection is spectacularly beautiful, and this suite receives special decoration. The suite includes four dances, allemande, gigue, courante, and sarabande. The allemande is entitled "LAMENTO sopra la dolorosa perdita della Real Msta di FERDINANDO IV Re de Romani &." The piece laments the death of the eldest of the Emperor's sons, who was born in 1633, and died at the age of 21 in 1654. He was in position to rule as the Austrian Emperor and had already taken the title King of Bohemia and Hungary. The allemande ends with a long C major scale ascending from the bottom of the keyboard up through the top and highest c"'. The last few notes appear faded and are progressively tinier disappearing into a cloud surrounded by cherubim decorating the margin. While the mood of the other dances is much more upbeat than the mellow allemande, each of them is decorated with marginalia with pictures such as an urn, a cross, a wreath, and other images associated with death, making it clear that the entire suite was meant to function as a tribute to the deceased Ferdinand IV.