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<<  -- 2 --  Ann Bond    SEEKING INSIGHT

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The answer might be that this recording, as well as showing an artist in the early stages of his career, is intended as a document of taste and practice as perceived in 1962. At that time, detailed research into historical performance practice was still limited, which accounts for the massive final ritardandi and other features which would now be questioned. Kipnis was admittedly well-versed in one of the early lessons of the baroque revival -- that repeats were varied -- but his decorations now sound rather contrived. One cannot help comparing this disc with the recordings of Thurston Dart, made on 'unhistorical' instruments in the same decade, and limited by the same perspectives, but which have worn much better. Of these excellent musicians and virtuosi of the keyboard, Dart had the deeper scholarly insight.

For the record, the main pieces on the disc are Bach's sixth French suite (prefaced, as in an early copy, by the Prelude in E from Book 1 of the '48'); one of Bach's pieces for the lute-harpsichord: Handel's suite containing the Harmonious Blacksmith variations; the interminable Soler Fandango (which does not have quite the sizzle of Puyana's recording, in spite of numerous register-changes); and an oddity by Dussek which depicts the sufferings of Marie Antoinette at the hands of the French revolutionaries [listen -- track 29, 0:00-0:53]. The latter certainly has picturesque qualities, but it would sound just as well, if not better, on the piano for which it was probably intended. Listeners might be well-advised to switch off before the banalities of the final apotheosis.

 

Copyright © 5 November 2000 Ann Bond, Lancashire, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - VAI AUDIO VAIA 1185

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