RARITY IN PERFORMANCE
'... the playing is lively and full of spirit,
and this disc is to be recommended.'
Works for 2 harpsichords -
with DAVID PONSFORD
The repertory for two or more harpsichords has long been a rarity in
performance and a source of curiosity amongst audiences and players, but
the satisfying nature of the genre more than amply repays the pragmatic
difficulties of co-ordinating appropriate instruments and the real problem
of keeping them all in tune. Of course the Concertos for multiple keyboards
by J. S. Bach are most well known, probably through recordings rather than
concert performances, and Bach's Concerto in C major (BWV 1061a) in its
(conjectural) early state without strings [listen
-- track 14, 5:12-6:05] forms the conclusion of this fine CD. Moreover,
J. S. Bach represents the chronological 'core' of this disc of unusual repertory
by German composers: theorist, journalist and composer Johann Mattheson
(1681-1764), Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784) and Johann Ludwig Krebs
(1713-1780, pupil of J. S. Bach).
Mattheson's impressive Sonata and Suite make a fine exploration of the
rich and powerful sonorities from two similar harpsichords. Most of Mattheson's
compositions were destroyed in World War 2, but the four standard suite
movements that follow this Sonata demonstrate his solid, rather heavy German
character. To increase the level of excitement, Mattheson adopts rather
crude means of writing more and more figuration for both players whilst
retaining the same harmonic rhythm in the Courante [listen
-- track 3, 1:05-1:46]. The heavy Italian Gigue has an unpromising
(fugal) subject, but in the second half is treated to dense semiquaver counterpoint.
Clearly, this piece does not inhabit the same world as the Gigue
from J. S.Bach's fifth Partita, but it is interesting to hear what
provincial and more conventional composers made of such genres, thus considerably
informing us (by comparison) of the stature of such composers as J. S. Bach.
Copyright © 10 December 2000
David Ponsford, Gloucestershire, UK
CD INFORMATION - GLOBE GLO 5179
PURCHASE THIS DISC FROM CROTCHET
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