The discovery of music manuscripts from the estate of composer and music journalist Johann Mattheson in Armenia has been the cause of great excitement for fanciers of the German Baroque – here, finally, is the opportunity to get to know this friend of Handel and Bach whose written words are so eloquent and informative, yet whose music has proven so elusive. Nevertheless, first things first – Brazilian-born harpsichordist Cristano Holtz makes the first comprehensive recording of a Mattheson set that has been available all along in Ramée's Johann Mattheson: Suites, namely the set of 12 harpsichord suites Mattheson published in England in 1714 and in Germany a little later. "Comprehensive" should not be taken to mean "complete"; this 75-minute disc contains a little less than half the set, with four suites presented in excerpted form. Purists may cry foul, but the full set of 12 suites would probably last about three hours in performance, and one is thankful to Ramée for restricting the release to a single disc and highlighting the good parts.
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.