Following the fine critical praise for his pioneering recording of the complete Harpsichord Suites of G.F. Handel, Gilbert Rowland moves to the lesser known but equally inspired Johann Mattheson (1681-1764) who composed these suites in 1714. Although generally following the then current Dance Suite format used so much by Bach, Handel and others, Mattheson created variety with different dances (such as the Tocatine) and varying numbers of movements. Certainly very musical and original, these Suites deserve to be considered on a level with those of Handel at the very least. Masterful performances by Gilbert Rowland who plays a 2-manual French-style instruments by Andrew Wooderson (2005) after an original from 1750 by Goemans.
Froberger was one of the most humane composers of the 17th century, and it would be a cold player indeed who did not respond to the searching expressiveness not only of his allemande-form meditations and lamentations, but of many other movements as well. Wilson does not fail them. A pupil of Leonhardt (himself a great Froberger player), he seeks a similar ‘delicate balance of freedom and rigour’, resulting in deeply considered interpretations, never hurried or frivolous, but with each note given proper placing and weight.
Possibly, like me, the first time you may ever have met the name of Forqueray was when you first discovered the ‘Pièces de Clavecin en concerts’ by Rameau. In those chamber works, enlargements of solo harpsichord pieces, Rameau invariably pays tribute to some of his most interesting contemporaries.
Leading early music expert Winsome Evans presents the final chapter in her ground-breaking project to transcribe and record Bach’s solo instrumental works for the harpsichord, with the Six Cello Suites and Partita for Solo Flute. Evans’ project, some 30 years in the making, is based on evidence that Bach himself played his solo instrumental works on the keyboard – including the statement of a former student that Bach often played the solo violin and cello works ‘on the clavier, adding as much in the nature of harmony as he found necessary’. The harmonies added by Evans to the solo works are inspired by methods from Bach’s own time.
Since the very dawn of the compact disc era, Ralph Kirkpatrick's seminal recordings of Domenico Scarlatti have mainly been conspicuous only by their absence from the active catalog. It's hard be sure just why, as all along listeners and reviewers alike have been requesting their return. Kirkpatrick's Bach has been reissued here and there, along with some oddities, including a live, all twentieth century recital Kirkpatrick performed in 1961, released on Music and Arts. But of the Scarlatti, nothing - how could the man who put the "K." in Scarlatti go neglected; were not his performances once considered the acme in Scarlatti played on the harpsichord?
The reserve collections of the Bibliothèque Royale of Brussels hold the sole printed copy of Telemann’s Twelve Fantaisies for solo flute. . . . These fantasias considerably enrich the slender corpus of Baroque works for flute without bass, alongside two other gems, the Partita of J. S. Bach and the Sonata in A minor of C. P. E. Bach. A cycle for solo flute of this kind, arranged by tonalities (the twelve that come most naturally to the instrument) and rising gradually from the key of A to that of G, is unique in the repertory. . . . These fantasias, each with its own mood, are miniatures consisting of a succession of three or four movements in the same key. All of them have in common the concision, the formal brevity and the rapid alternation of their movements. Telemann plays on effects of contrast and surprise by switching between opposing characters and tempi.
The theorbo is a sort of big brother to the lute, with a set of long, unfretted bass strings in addition to the fretted courses. This gives the instrument a wonderful, rich mellow sound which is beautifully evoked and captured in these recordings (from 1992 and 1999). Montailhet is an excellent theorbist and the music, too, is a delight.