F. Couperin, d’Anglebert, Marais and Rameau
Luckily not all French harpsichords ended up as firewood during and after the French Revolution! A survivor at Versailles, a Ioannes Ruckers of 1628, underwent a petit ravalement in 1706 , probably carried out in the Blanchet workshop. The original 1628 Ruckers was a large double-manual with chromatic bass, allowing for a less violent ravalement than was usual. The 1706 instrument thus retained much of its original voice: richness of overtones, sonority and clarity, expressiveness and vitality. Qualities magnificently captured by the Swedish builder Andreas Kilström, whom Ludmila commissioned to build a “Versailles Ruckers”. This superb-sounding instrument inspired her to record music of the period, including Rameau’s Suite in a minor published the same year as the ravalement in 1706.
For details on how you can order this CD, please mail: Ludmilla.Tschakalova@telenet.be
The programme combines pieces by Handel with an introduction to two less well-known but very fine contemporaries – Graupner and Mattheson. Dance movements such as the allemande and sarabande are ideally served by Michele Benuzzi’s expressive approach. The disc also features several examples of Handel’s free preludes, performed with a combination of freedom and forward energy. There is also plenty of opportunity to hear bravura playing: the impression left after the final track is one of artistic power and splendour. The instrument is the glorious original Dulcken harpsichord of c 1740 in the collection of Sheila Barnes. CD obtainable direct from http://www.michelebenuzzi.org.uk/06_discography.htm or from LIR Classics – http://www.london-independent.co.uk/LIR021.htm
Concord of Sweet Sounds
Sophie Yates, a specialist in playing original instruments, plays Purcell, Blow and Croft and early dance movements, on two important historic instruments at Westwood Manor, Wiltshire. A very early and important Italian ottavina virginal, 1537 by Mutinensis and a Stephen Keene spinet of 1711. The Westwood Recording Project was set up to create a recording which would bring these instruments to life and to raise sufficient funds for the necessary research and restoration. This has now been achieved. Full details of this process and of the instruments are given in the notes.
For copies of the CD, £15 plus £1.50p&p please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Handel in Ireland
Based on Handel’s visit to Ireland in 1741, the album contains harpsichord music by Handel, Roseingrave and Carter, plus virtuosic operatic arrangements from Handel’s ‘Rinaldo’ by William Babell. As a bonus there are two tracks of popular Irish melodies; one a favourite of Handel, and the other written in a Handel manuscript. Both the Carter Sonatina and The Poor Irish Boy are previously unrecorded. Also included is a 16pp booklet with a fascinating summary of an article written for ‘Essays in Honour of Christopher Hogwood’.
Bridget Cunningham was supported by the Worshipful Company of Musicians as a Fellow of the Royal College of Music. The Finzi Trust awarded her a research scholarship to study Early Baroque Irish Music, which led on to her recording ‘Ireland’s Enchantment’ with her group ‘Emerald Baroque’ and specifically to researching music for this CD
£14.99 plus pp available from http://www.bridgetcunningham.org.uk/recordings.php
To hear extracts of all tracks visit http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bridgetcunningham
I felt driven to record Bach’s Goldberg Variations as I was completing my book Did Bach Really Mean That? which is the result of one of the consuming interests of my life as a player: the investigation of notational conventions. The Goldberg Variations was not just an ideal medium for the exposition of some important suggestions made in the book, but a chance to put my head above the parapet, offering one of the iconic works of the Early Keyboard repertoire. Reviews have been very positive, but the most pleasing comments have come from some who have been, over the years, not just sources of inspiration, but my most severe critics. John Byrt commented “You’ve really hit the nail on the head. What comes over above all is the joy and wit of the piece.” And Colin Tilney has told me “Cross my heart, it’s the only performance of the Goldberg Variations I have ever enjoyed.”
Read reviews and buy online (Price including UK p&p £9.99) at http://www.soundboard-records.co.uk
Frescobaldi; Keyboard Works, Vols 1, 2 & 3
Three volumes of Frescobaldi’s keyboard works recorded by Nimbus Records and played by Richard Lester mostly on the 1619 Boni harpsichord and instruments at Fenton House. The fourth and final volume will be released in the Spring of 2013.
“This playing has an eloquence, vitality and freshness…. The Toccatas are rooted in improvisation and it is that extemporaneous character which Lester most potently evokes in his marvellously free-flowing and coherently paced performances… This is clearly going to be a series of great musical value as well as of highly enjoyable music-making from an authoritative and compelling advocate of this music.”
Marc Rochester International Record Review
“The Toccatas make for an expressive contrast and perhaps include the finest music of all. Performance of Frescobaldi demands a free, improvisatory style of performance, of which Richard Lester is obviously a master. He plays a perfectly chosen harpsichord with a particularly attractive, warm sonority with the sound perfectly focused in an ideal acoustic.” Penguin Guide to the Finest 1000 Classical Recordings 2011
Robert Woolley an internationally regarded authority on the music of this period.
On this recording, he plays two instruments: a modern copy by Malcolm Rose of the Lodewijk Theewes claviorgan of 1579, a harpsichord-organ combination which has belonged to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London since 1890; and a rarely heard virginal, or muselar, by the firm Adlam Burnett, based on an instrument of Ioannes Ruckers from 1611 in the Finchcocks collection.
‘A rich, rewarding brew of imaginative harpsichord music , expertly played…There is not much competition in the world of Sweelinck recordings, but this stands out as an excellent harpsichord release in its own right.’ Gramophone
Available direct from Chandos: http://www.chandos.net/CD_Notes.asp?CNumber=CHAN%200758
‘The Unknown Purcell’
Sonatas by Daniel Purcell (c.1670-1717)
On this CD (CHAN 0795) can be found the premiere recording of Daniel Purcell’s surviving harpsichord music. With the exception of the preludial ‘Toccata’, the pieces are the composer’s own arrangements of various songs and dances for the theatre. David plays a double-manual harpsichord, a copy by Anne and Ian Tucker of the Ruckers/Hemsch in the Cobbe Collection at Hatchlands Park. The CD also features nine ‘Solos’ and ‘Sonatas’ for violin (Hazel Brooks) and continuo, as well as a fine Chaconne in A minor, again mostly premiere recordings.
J.S.Bach Six Partitas for Harpsichord
Clavier Übung 1 BWV 825-830
‘Keyboard Practice consisting of Preludes, Allemandes, Courantes, Sarabandes, Gigues, Menuets, and other galanteries; prepared for the delight of spirit of music lovers by Johann Sebastian Bach… Director of Music for Leipzig.’
Bach’s Partitas have often been singled out as the greatest of suite collections, the Baroque equivalent of Beethoven’s piano Sonatas. This is true inasmuch as Bach, in such pieces as the Toccata, Sarabande and Gigue of the E minor Partita, goes far beyond the limitations of his time, in expressive explorations every bit as radical as Beethoven in his late Sonatas. They belong with the supreme achievements of western art music. From the Liner Notes by David Ledbetter
MCD1301 – DOUBLE CD EAN_7640120198695 http://www.mayarecordings.com
Bach on the Pleyel Harpsichord
Francesco Mazzoli writes “The instrument played during this recording is the concert harpsichord Pleyel which belonged to Irma Rogell (1918-2013), Wanda Landowska’s last pupil. This instrument was personally ordered in 1957 by the great Polish harpsichordist who played it during her last year of life. She required from the French manufacturer a particular sound, much richer and much more powerful than the concert Pleyel harpsichords produced until then. This Pleyel harpsichord has two manuals in the disposition 16’, 8’, 4’ choirs in one manual and 8’, lute and nasal in the second one, controlled by a seven negative-action pedals.
After a long oblivion, I began to restore it in 2010; it took two years to bring it back to its original sound which, as you can hear, is very rich, powerful, almost piano/organ-like because of its unique structure, considerably different from traditional French or Flemish harpsichords.”
The Brandenburg and the Harpsichord Concerto were recorded live during the inaugural concert of the restored instrument in Verona in December 2012. The two other tracks are included as a special tribute to Landowska and to show the exceptional qualities of this her favourite instrument.