Started by Geo Dude, January 15, 2012, 10:22:56 AM
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Quote from: Geo Dude on January 19, 2012, 12:36:55 PMI'm sure I speak for all of the harpsichord fans on the board when I say that I'm thankful for the effort.
Quote from: Mandryka on January 19, 2012, 07:31:49 AMSo 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?
Quote from: snyprrr on January 20, 2012, 08:40:37 AMI've got most things by Tiensuu, the Composer and performer, and Choinacka/Chojnacka (Maciek? ), the two most distinguished players of the High Modernism.Xenakis's chamber concerto L'Isle d'Goree may be the loveliest expression for this instrument in all of Modernism.
Quote from: Geo Dude on January 16, 2012, 08:05:49 AMFor 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?
Quote from: ~ Que ~ on May 01, 2010, 08:03:33 AMVery nice, and it grows on me. Written in the "transitional" style, akin to Georg Benda & CPE Bach. Müthel's style is particularly willful, and I like that. The combination of the rather timid nature of the clavichord with such impulsive music, is an interesting touch in this respect. Van Delft gives it his best: propulsive and expressive. Another bonus: the clavichord is a notoriously difficult instrument to record, but that is a success here.Samples HERE.
QuoteWhen snow blankets the ground the clavichord comes into its own. The world becomes quieter, or tries to, and this quietest of instruments finds its voice anew.The clavichord demands great concentration of listeners but rewards them with its unlimited dynamic shadings and expressive powers. In this heightened state extraneous sounds come as a shock to the ear. The clavichord is an instrument of introspection, but it can also be played for the enjoyment of a few listeners seated nearby; it requires a degree of stillness to which few people are accustomed. J.S. Bach, who thought the clavichord was the most expressive of all instruments, "favored it for private musical entertainments." The most popular domestic keyboard instrument in 18th-century Germany, the clavichord could not compete with the flash and brilliance of the piano, which had largely displaced it in bourgeois homes by the early 19th century.The clavichord is the most expressive of keyboard instruments and derives much of its beauty from the simplicity of its action — the mechanism for producing sound. In contrast to the complex piano action with its array of levers, hammers, dampers, not to mention wippens, capstans and other exotic contrivances, the clavichord strikes the string in the most elegant and obvious way. At one end the key is veneered in ebony, boxwood, bone or another traditional substance that is both beautiful to look at and hard enough to withstand the wear from years of fingertips against it. Inside the instrument the key narrows to a thin strip on which is placed a small piece of brass — a tangent — that projects up from the end of the key about three-quarters of an inch. When the finger depresses one end of the key the other end goes up, making the tangent strike the string. At the hands of a skillful player, this simple action allows for minute dynamic shadings, abrupt accents, and even vibrato.Johann Gottfried Müthel (1724-1788), the last of J. S. Bach's students, was by all accounts a willful, melancholic genius and one of the greatest masters of the instrument. Much of Müthel's music, with its carefree passage work and ornaments that suddenly dissolve into reverie and pathos, would seem to bear out the scant biographical information that documents his moody character. Prone to introspection and even lassitude, Müthel produced a relatively small body of work. An interesting recording of some of Müthel's keyboard concertos and chamber works was made back in the 1990s by Music Alta Ripa of Hanover, Germany; the two CD-set gives you a sense not only of Müthel's incredible dexterity of mind and hand, but of the elegant and often intense conversational mode that brings the keyboard into contact with other instruments in the bourgeois and noble drawing room where it was heard. One is amazed, even sometimes perplexed, at the frequent collision of the insouciant and the soul-searching that animates Müthel's style. No music reflects that pleasant paradox of art and nature so crucial to north German music of the 18th-century as much as Müthel's. He was a musician, like so many others of his caliber, who apparently spent huge amounts of effort learning to act or play "naturally"; all should sound easy, but the level of detail and refinement is taken to such an extreme that things begin to sound like a critique of politeness: the manners are so refined they become almost scathing. The above-mentioned CD doesn't quite capture this manic decorum.The finest recording of Müthel, indeed of clavichord music of any kind is that of the Dutch keyboard player Menno van Delft. On this two CD set van Delft plays Müthel's solo keyboard works, three sonatas and two sets of variations on a clavichord from Hamburg built in 1763 and now in the Russell Collection in Edinburgh; it is a sumptuously decorated instrument that was first bought by a wealthy Amsterdam family and was played on in their household by Mozart. Mozart also loved the clavichord, and doubtless loved this one, capable of such power and nuance, such bold outbursts and whispered asides. Müthel's music is fiendishly difficult both for its velocity and other acrobatics and for its hushed nuances. To hear van Delft make these demanding works his own is to begin to understand that Müthel at the perfect instrument is a unique musical experience: there is really nothing quite like it, and this recording is as impressive as it is moving.In spite of his solitary nature, Müthel had many admirers and his music was disseminated even as far as London. The 18th-century traveler Charles Burney visited the most legendary of the clavichordists, C. P. E. Bach (J. S. Bach's second son), in Hamburg in 1772 and described a transcendent clavichord performance in his host's house in which Bach's "eyes were fixed, his under lip fell, and drops of effervescence distilled from his countenance."Burney did not make it far enough east to meet Müthel in Riga, but he ordered the German's mighty duet in E-flat for two keyboards; the title page of this 1771 publication lists piano, harpsichord, or clavichord, but clearly the latter is the perfect instrument for the piece, especially since it calls for so much of the vibrato specific to the clavichord. Burney performed the piece often for his winter concerts in London, describing it as his "big gun."At the final pages of the third volume of his European travels published in the 1770s, Burney turned to a Müthel inhabiting the farthest frontier of musical civilization:"When a student upon the keyed instruments has vanquished all difficulties to be found in the lessons of Handel, Scarlatti, Schobert, Eckart and C.P.E. Bach; and, like Alexander lament that nothing more remains to conquer, I would recommend to him, as an exercise for patience and preservation, the compositions of Müthel; which are so full of novelty, taste, grace and contrivance, that I should not hesitate to rank them among the greatest productions of the present age. Extraordinary as are the genius and performance of this musician, he is but little known in Germany."It was difficult to get Müthel to play even for his circle of devotees, which included Johann Herder. He would relent only when "thickest snow covered the ground" of the Baltic city of Riga, where he spent his professional career. Only when the outside world was muffled could his innermost thoughts and feelings be expressed in the fullness of silence. The clank and clatter of horseshoes on cobblestone were intolerable intrusions. [...]To play the clavichord is constantly to be reminded of what, on reflection, seems obvious: that once the world was a much quieter place. Müthel would have been happy for all this snow, but not snow blowers.
Quote from: ~ Que ~ on September 07, 2008, 02:38:08 AMPrevious impressions are once again confirmed: very interesting music - which is getting more delightful now I've progressed to the really mature sonatas nos. 10-12 on disc 3, and really excellent performances - beautifully recorded. Bulgarian Sylvia Georgieva, musically educated in Prague, plays two double manual harpsichords: one after Johannes Ruckers (1624) and one after Michael Mietke (ca. 1710)This is a 4CD set of the complete harpsichord sonatas. Click picture for samples at jpc
Quote from: Geo Dude on January 20, 2012, 03:17:28 PMI must admit that while I'm generally not a connoisseur of 20th century composers the idea of harpsichord works written by modernist composers is fascinating. I'll make a point of looking up that Xenakis work on YouTube, or at least sampling it if that is not possible. Any suggestions on recordings by the others you've mentioned that may be palatable to someone whose ears lean more toward 'traditional' tastes?
Quote from: PaulSC on January 21, 2012, 05:02:24 PMPerhaps surprisingly, I've never been entirely happy with the lute harpsichord. There is something too squeaky-clean about the sound of Keith Hill's instruments in particular, based on what I've heard from Robert Hill and Lisa Crawford
Quote from: PaulSCI suspect I would get along better with John Paul's Bach series. But I wonder if fatigue would set in listening to such a distinctive sound; the lute stop has the advantage of being deployed more sparingly as a special coloration in the context of the harpsichord performance.
Quote from: PaulSCFinally, is this terminology correct?- Lute stop or buff stop: applies a rail wrapped in leather or other material to the strings near the pin block to produce a muted lute-like tone- Lute register: a set of strings activated by plectra made of leather or a similar material- Nazard: the strings are plucked by a set of jacks positioned very close to the pin block
Quote from: PaulSC on January 21, 2012, 05:02:24 PMI've just placed an order for the Lars Ulrik Mortensen. I liked a lot of what I heard in previews, and I am a sucker for his bold use of the lute stop (also a feature of his Goldberg Variations).
Quote from: Geo Dude on January 22, 2012, 04:07:30 AMWhere did you order the Mortensen? I'm certainly interested in a player that makes good use of the lute stop.
Quote from: milk on January 22, 2012, 04:27:29 AMHis Buxtehude harpsichord cycle is fantastic.
Quote from: Geo Dude on January 22, 2012, 04:30:44 AMBased on the listening I've done on YouTube it is indeed fantastic. Unfortunately, it's also out of print (or so it seems) which means I'll have to acquire it slowly.
Quote from: ~ Que ~ on January 22, 2012, 04:38:22 AMThe DaCapo recordings have been reissued on Naxos: PS there is a new kid on the block in the guise of a new complete set on Brilliant played by Simone Stella - haven't heard it.Q
Quote from: Mandryka on January 19, 2012, 07:31:49 AMSo 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?
Quote from: (: premont :) on January 22, 2012, 02:15:57 AM Do you think of Elisabeth Farr?
QuoteI do not recommend the recordings of John Paul. Despite good intentions the result is questionable. The instrument he uses virtually emasculates the music. This may be acceptable in some of the French suites, but for the Partitas, the English suites and the French Ouverture Hill´s instruments would have been far superior.
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