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Instruments Of The Russell Collection Vol 2 / John Kitchen

Kitchen,John
Release Date: 07/25/2006 
Label:  Delphian   Catalog #: 34039   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Frideric HandelHenry PurcellRobert BremnerMichelangelo Rossi,   ... 
Performer:  John Kitchen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



INSTRUMENTS FROM THE RODGER MIRREY COLLECTION John Kitchen (hpd) DELPHIAN DCD34057 (75:48)


Keyboard works by COUPERIN, HAYDN, BLOW, FROBERGER, BACH, PASQUINI, BYRD, FRESCOBALDI, A. SCARLATTI, MENDELSSOHN, ANON


INSTRUMENTS FROM THE RAYMOND RUSSELL COLLECTION, VOL 2 John Kitchen (hpd) Read more DELPHIAN DCD34039 (77:22)


Keyboard works by HANDEL, PURCELL, M. ROSSI, TOMKINS, BLOW, J. C. F. BACH, F. X. MOZART, A-L. COUPERIN, GRAUPNER


Quite a few major museums have a harpsichord or two, usually in a poor state of repair—the sad, modern, musical equivalent of that dusty stuffed owl stuck away in some corner of some small town’s municipal nature display. By way of contrast, the University of Edinburgh maintains an admirable and well-maintained collection of early keyboards in St. Cecilia’s Hall Museum of Instruments. It is anchored around two major gifts: 19 instruments presented in 1964, and known as the Raymond Russell Collection, and 22 others provided in 2005 by Rodger and Lynne Mirrey. Eighteen of these can be heard on this pair of discs.


The information provided about each instrument is close to nonexistent in the Raymond Russell material and only basic in the Rodger Mirrey album, but it’s enough to fascinate. The earliest instrument heard on these albums is a single-manual Venetian harpsichord, dated 1574; the latest, a square piano manufactured in 1815, in Edinburgh. There’s a magnificent 1755 French double-manual harpsichord, built not in Paris, but in Cyteux, and a chamber organ built probably in London around 1680—one of many such designed to replace those destroyed during the English Civil War. A large, handsomely made 1773 double-manual harpsichord ascribed on its nameplate to the Kirkman family of harpsichord building fame is actually a fake, created and sold by another builder—albeit a fine one—Robert Falkener. (The Kirkmans had sued him two years earlier for making money off their name with instruments he had built. It evidently didn’t take.)


Perhaps the most intriguing keyboard on these releases is a so-called enharmonic virginal attributed to Francesco Poggio, who was active in Florence between 1586 and 1620. It splits two of the black keys in each octave into front-back halves, so that G? really is different from A?, and D? from E?. Split keys are also used in the bass, but to create a “broken octave,” a smaller-than-standard area to squeeze more notes onto the instrument. As a result, the extremely wide chord that opens the piece chosen to display the Poggio—a toccata by Michelangelo Rossi—becomes much easier to play, and the composer’s chromatic writing has all the piquancy that’s otherwise muted when heard on keyboards with less adaptable tunings.


This brings us to another favorable point about these albums: the care shown in selecting music to illustrate the character of each instrument. A delicate single-manual harpsichord built in 1709 by Thomas Barton is heard to great advantage in an unassuming suite of Purcell, where the brightness of both treble and bass are muted slightly to complement one another, with excellent resonance and blending. The elaborate figurations and counterpoint that propel Alessandro Scarlatti’s toccata (a mini-suite, rather than a single piece) seem made for the single-manual harpsichord by Franciscus de Paulinis, coincidentally built the year of the composer’s death: bright as are most Italian keyboards, but without the hard edge associated with some. The well-known jogs elbows with the seldom-heard; Handel, Byrd, Mendelssohn, and Louis Couperin, with Pasquini, F.X. Mozart, and J.C.F. Bach.


John Kitchen’s performances are both technically excellent and stylistically appropriate. He neither rushes Louis Couperin’s unmeasured prelude, nor attempts to fit its implementation of notes inégales into a straitjacket. On the other hand, Blow’s Morlack’s Ground is as direct and rhythmically vital as one could wish. There’s a majesty in his spacious, lyrical version of Froberger’s Lament for Ferdinand IV , and a delightfully tongue-in-cheek martial cast to his phrasing in Armand-Louis Couperin’s L’Enjouée . Nothing is pallid. Every piece is brought to life in a manner suitable to its character, and that of its instrument.


Color photos are provided of all the keyboards. Occasional mention is made of tuning; more of that would have been welcome. The engineering on both discs is close and full, with hardly any interference from mechanical sounds.


Full recommendations, then. I hope these discs do well for Delphian and the museum, leading to still more recordings featuring Kitchen.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1. Suite for Harpsichord in D minor, HWV 437 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  John Kitchen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 7 Minutes 46 Secs. 
2. The Second Part of Musick's Handmaid, lessons (12) for harpsichord: March by Henry Purcell
Performer:  John Kitchen (Spinet)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1687 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 0 Minutes 52 Secs. 
3. The Second Part of Musick's Handmaid, lessons (12) for harpsichord: Minuet by Henry Purcell
Performer:  John Kitchen (Spinet)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1687 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 0 Minutes 44 Secs. 
4. The Second Part of Musick's Handmaid, lessons (12) for harpsichord: A new Ground by Henry Purcell
Performer:  John Kitchen (Spinet)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1687 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
5. The Second Part of Musick's Handmaid, lessons (12) for harpsichord: A new Scotch Tune by Henry Purcell
Performer:  John Kitchen (Spinet)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1687 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 1 Minutes 4 Secs. 
6. The Second Part of Musick's Handmaid, lessons (12) for harpsichord: A new Irish Tune by Henry Purcell
Performer:  John Kitchen (Spinet)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1687 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 1 Minutes 19 Secs. 
7. The Harpsichord or Spinnet Miscellany, for harpsichord or spinet: Fy gar rub her o'er with Straw by Robert Bremner
Performer:  John Kitchen (Spinet)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1765 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 2 Minutes 15 Secs. 
8. The Harpsichord or Spinnet Miscellany, for harpsichord or spinet: The Flowers of the Forrest by Robert Bremner
Performer:  John Kitchen (Spinet)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1765 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 1 Minutes 58 Secs. 
9. The Harpsichord or Spinnet Miscellany, for harpsichord or spinet: Maggy Lauder by Robert Bremner
Performer:  John Kitchen (Spinet)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1765 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
10. Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Toccata no 7 by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  John Kitchen (Virginal)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 4 Minutes 49 Secs. 
11. Voluntary for organ in C major by John Blow
Performer:  John Kitchen (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 5 Minutes 2 Secs. 
12. Musikalische Nebenstunden, for clavichord: Marche by J. C. F. Bach
Performer:  John Kitchen (Clavichord)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787-1788 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
13. Musikalische Nebenstunden, for clavichord: Menuet by J. C. F. Bach
Performer:  John Kitchen (Clavichord)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787-1788 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
14. Musikalische Nebenstunden, for clavichord: Adagio by J. C. F. Bach
Performer:  John Kitchen (Clavichord)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787-1788 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 1 Minutes 48 Secs. 
15. Musikalische Nebenstunden, for clavichord: Andante by J. C. F. Bach
Performer:  John Kitchen (Clavichord)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787-1788 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 1 Minutes 38 Secs. 
16. Pièces de clavecin: Les tendres sentiments by Armand-Louis Couperin
Performer:  John Kitchen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1751; Paris, France 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
17. L'Affligée, for harpsichord (Pièces de clavecin) by Armand-Louis Couperin
Performer:  John Kitchen (Harpsichord)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1751 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 6 Minutes 22 Secs. 
18. Pièces de clavecin: L'enjouée by Armand-Louis Couperin
Performer:  John Kitchen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1751; Paris, France 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 4 Minutes 18 Secs. 
19. Monatliche Clavir Früchte: November, for keyboard, GWV 119: Praeludium by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  John Kitchen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 1 Minutes 13 Secs. 
20. Monatliche Clavir Früchte: November, for keyboard, GWV 119: Menuet by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  John Kitchen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
21. Monatliche Clavir Früchte: November, for keyboard, GWV 119: Gavotte by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  John Kitchen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 1 Minutes 31 Secs. 
22. Monatliche Clavir Früchte: November, for keyboard, GWV 119: Chaconne by Christoph Graupner
Performer:  John Kitchen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1722 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 3 Minutes 44 Secs. 
23. Polonaises mélancoliques (6), for piano, Op 17: No. 1 in C minor by Franz X. W. Mozart
Performer:  John Kitchen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
24. Polonaises mélancoliques (6), for piano, Op 17: No. 2 in A minor by Franz X. W. Mozart
Performer:  John Kitchen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 
25. Pavan "for these distracted times" by Thomas Tomkins
Performer:  John Kitchen (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  St. Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Edinb 
Length: 5 Minutes 36 Secs. 

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