General Harpsichord and Clavichord Thread

Started by Geo Dude, January 15, 2012, 10:22:56 AM

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Geo Dude

This is a place for harpsichord/clavichord fanatics to discuss recommended (and not-so-recommended) recordings, great musicians, schools of harpsichord (or clavichord) playing, and anything else of relevance that comes to mind.

Let's get started.

Geo Dude

Any recommendations on great recordings by Leonhardt?  For that matter, what are some of the elements that define his style and that of the 'Leonhardt School' I've heard about here?

For that matter, while the harpsichord is usually tied in most minds to the baroque era, some early classical era material also employed the harpsichord -- Haydn keyboard sonata sets that many people have been enjoying lately come to mind.  Do any specialists have tips on classical era composers and recordings that employ the harpsichord?

Josquin des Prez

Quote from: Geo Dude on January 16, 2012, 08:05:49 AM
For that matter, while the harpsichord is usually tied in most minds to the baroque era, some early classical era material also employed the harpsichord -- Haydn keyboard sonata sets that many people have been enjoying lately come to mind.  Do any specialists have tips on classical era composers and recordings that employ the harpsichord?

Many of the earlier classical composers wrote extensively for the harpsichord, but their music still hark back to the baroque in many ways.

Some of those composers include Soler and Duphly, which used the language of Scarlatti and Rameau respectively mixed with many classical elements. Then we have Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, whose vast keyboard output presents a nearly fully formed classical language, though the presence of his father looms large.

Geo Dude

Quote from: Josquin des Prez on January 16, 2012, 03:56:09 PM
Many of the earlier classical composers wrote extensively for the harpsichord, but their music still hark back to the baroque in many ways.

Some of those composers include Soler and Duphly, which used the language of Scarlatti and Rameau respectively mixed with many classical elements. Then we have Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, whose vast keyboard output presents a nearly fully formed classical language, though the presence of his father looms large.

I've been meaning to explore C.P.E. Bach.  Any harpsichord recordings you can recommend as being particularly strong?

Josquin des Prez

Quote from: Geo Dude on January 16, 2012, 04:09:53 PM
I've been meaning to explore C.P.E. Bach.  Any harpsichord recordings you can recommend as being particularly strong?

Saldy, i cannot. This is not one area i explored very deeply. The only point of interest that i can think of is that the complete edition of his keyboard works is recorded using a clavichord (to my chagrin). Since you are curious about the instrument this may be a good starting point as any:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGAicBrQrEA

Josquin des Prez

Now that i think about it, many of his concertos were written for the harpsichord as well. I haven't personally explored any of them, but his cello concertos are pretty good. Take it from there i guess.

PaulSC

#6
There is also a C.P.E. Bach cycle by Miklos Spanyi on BIS, covering both the solo sonatas and the concertos. There are many volumes out, but I believe the series is still in progress. Spanyi again uses clavichord for the sonatas, at least in the two volumes I own (Solo Keyboard Music, volumes 16 and 17, which together cover the Wurttemberg sonatas — some of C.P.E. Bach's most engaging work, and a great place to start and possibly to stop).

Musik ist ein unerschöpfliches Meer. — Joseph Riepel

val

There is a good anthology, with the 6 Sonatas Wq 48 and the six Sonatas Wq 49 by Bob van Asperen. It was published by TELDEC.

Regarding Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, there is a recent and superb CD  with two Sonatas and some Polonaises and Fantasies played in clavichord by Maude Gratton.

Josquin des Prez

Quote from: val on January 17, 2012, 01:15:07 AM
There is a good anthology, with the 6 Sonatas Wq 48 and the six Sonatas Wq 49 by Bob van Asperen. It was published by TELDEC.

I used to have that. Those are mostly early sonatas, and they tend to sound very baroque.

DieNacht

Another vote for the Spanyi/CPE Bach. There´s a lot to discover yet in that series. Sometimes tempi are broader than average compared to recordings, but often to a nice effect. And beautiful sound, too.

Some recent harpsichord concerti I like in particular are
Kokkonen: Durch ein Speigel, for harpsichord and strings;
Pawel Szymanski: Partita III for harpsichord and orchestra;
Martinu: Harpsichord Concerto, especially the recording with Ruzickova/Neumann

Geo Dude

Thanks to everyone for the information on CPE Bach.

By the way, Josquin, I know you're a fan of Scott Ross; what recordings do you recommend?  Does he show particular strength for any composer(s) in particular?

Quote from: Geo Dude on January 16, 2012, 08:05:49 AM
Any recommendations on great recordings by Leonhardt?  For that matter, what are some of the elements that define his style and that of the 'Leonhardt School' I've heard about here?

In light of the recent news of Leonhardt's death I feel it's worthwhile to restate these questions.  What are his finest recordings, the material we should remember him by?  And for that matter, which harpsichordists did he most influence?

Josquin des Prez

Quote from: Geo Dude on January 17, 2012, 03:22:49 PM
By the way, Josquin, I know you're a fan of Scott Ross; what recordings do you recommend?  Does he show particular strength for any composer(s) in particular?

Beyond Scarlatti, i think he was particularly strong with French baroque music. I think his Couperin and his Rameau are pretty much definitive. I tend to like his Bach and Handel a bit less, though it remains great. An exception to this are the Partitas, which for me are unmatched. He is my favored harpsichordist, and i enjoyed the majority of his recordings, but his style can be rather hard driven at times. His laser sharp technique always assures a great performance but sometimes you may wish he would soften up a little. He died relatively young and one wonders how much his style would have chanced through out the years.

milk

Quote from: Josquin des Prez on January 17, 2012, 04:06:44 PM
Beyond Scarlatti, i think he was particularly strong with French baroque music. I think his Couperin and his Rameau are pretty much definitive. I tend to like his Bach and Handel a bit less, though it remains great. An exception to this are the Partitas, which for me are unmatched. He is my favored harpsichordist, and i enjoyed the majority of his recordings, but his style can be rather hard driven at times. His laser sharp technique always assures a great performance but sometimes you may wish he would soften up a little. He died relatively young and one wonders how much his style would have chanced through out the years.
Seems like it's pretty hard to find a good deal on the partitas. I wish I could!

Josquin des Prez

#13
Well, you can always use the internet. If you like them, you can buy them once you find a good used copy. Some of his recordings, like the Couperin set, have been out of print for years, so you might as well hit a p2p or emule network and worry about buying an hard copy later, if you ever find one.

Drasko

Quote from: Josquin des Prez on January 17, 2012, 04:06:44 PM
He is my favored harpsichordist, and i enjoyed the majority of his recordings, but his style can be rather hard driven at times. His laser sharp technique always assures a great performance but sometimes you may wish he would soften up a little. He died relatively young and one wonders how much his style would have chanced through out the years.

I have bit different take on that, it seems to me that he hardened with years. His earlier recordings (Rameau, Couperin) are softer, more languid and lyrical than his later 80s stuff, try comparing his 1975 STIL Rameau with live e minor Suite from 1986 recital at Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert on INA, the later is much faster and driven. It might be just conjecture but I somehow always felt that drivenness and slight haste came as a result of AIDS diagnosis and desire to get more things done while there is still time. I could be completely off on this of course.   


milk

Quote from: Josquin des Prez on January 18, 2012, 02:00:02 AM
Well, you can always use the internet. If you like them, you can buy them once you find a good used copy. Some of his recordings, like the Couperin set, have been out of print for years, so you might as well hit a p2p or emule network and worry about buying an hard copy later, if you ever find one.
I haven't found it to download. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places. I don't need a hard copy and, of course, I'm willing to pay for it. But not 50$.

(: premont :)

Quote from: Josquin des Prez on January 19, 2012, 03:16:44 AM
A lot of harpsichordists have a tendency to sound disjointed since they are so focused on the detail that they forget the whole.

Whom do you particulary think of?
As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.

Mandryka

#17
Quote from: (: premont :) on January 18, 2012, 10:20:42 AM
Thanks for this. Paul Wolfe´s Händel suites were well regarded in the 1960es, his recording of the Eight great suites being the only one besides Anton Heiller´s recording from the mid 50es (Amadeo) and Christopher Wood´s from the late 50es (Saga). I never heard Wolfe´s as the LPs were unavailable in my country. I note that Wolfe plays in a typical post-Landowska style, which among other things is characterized by deliberate pace, heavy registrations (much 16F), inorganic changes of registration, litteral execution of rhythms (very disturbing in the prelude), metrical execution of trill´s and a general pianistic approach implying almost continual legato. But I admit, that some kind of poetry emerges from the playing after all.   

OK -- that's an interesting thing to think about. I'm much less familiar with styles of harpsichord playing than I am with schools of piano playing.

So would you put Puyanas's French Partita (BWV 831), Walcha's English Suites, Kirkpatrick's Partitas  and the 1950s Goldbergs and AoF from  Leonhardt in the same category? I mean, I know they didn't record on instruments as colourful as Wolfe's and Landowska's. But in terms of articulation?
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Josquin des Prez

Quote from: milk on January 19, 2012, 04:08:38 AM
Thanks so much for trying but I can't seem to make this work. Now I want this more than ever.

I'll try to upload them later on today, when i get back home.

Geo Dude

Quote from: Josquin des Prez on January 19, 2012, 10:01:29 AM
I'll try to upload them later on today, when i get back home.

I'm sure I speak for all of the harpsichord fans on the board when I say that I'm thankful for the effort.