WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Cembalo: Inspiration Und Originalitat

Winter / D'anglebert / Bach,J.s. / Vivaldi
Release Date: 01/08/2013 
Label:  Querstand   Catalog #: 1217   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jean-Henri D'AnglebertJohann Jacob FrobergerJohann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Mechthild Winter
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $18.98
CD:  $16.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews



INSPIRATION AND ORIGINALITY—OR RATHER: NO ONE IS BORN A BACH Mechthild Winter (hpd) QUERSTAND 1217 (70:26)


D’ANGLEBERT Suite No. 2 in g. BACH French Suite No. 2 in c. Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue. Italian Concerto. FROBERGER Toccata da sonarsi all Levatione in g, Read more FbWV 106. Capriccio in C, FbWV 506. VIVALDI Concerto in G, RV 299


Albums with clever or cutesy titles and themes can have the opposite of their intended effect; they can turn off an already surfeited potential buyer who may dismiss the release as not serious or as being aimed at the unsophisticated listener. In this case, that would be most unfortunate, for here is a disc of keyboard works—some well known, others, not—offered as a sampler of the leading French, German, and Italian styles of the 17th century, and all played on what may be the most gorgeous harpsichord I’ve ever heard by a wonderful player named Mechthild Winter. The magnificent instrument in question was built in 2008 by Matthias Griewisch and is a meticulous reproduction of an original two-manual Ruckers harpsichord from 1624 currently housed in the Musée d’Unterlinden in Colmar.


Johann Jacob Froberger (1616–1667) is the earliest composer represented here, and is considered to be the most influential figure in laying the foundations for the entirety of the baroque keyboard music that followed. A widely-travelled cosmopolitan fellow, Froberger synthesized the Italian style of his teacher, Frescobaldi, the French style of Chambonnières and the elder Couperin, and the contrapuntal forms of canon, ricercar, passacaglia, fugue, and fantasia learned from Sweelinck, and Schütz. François Couperin and Bach are both children of Froberger.


Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue owes much to Froberger’s Toccata da sonarsi all Levatione and Capriccio on this disc. The Toccata , especially, is quite harmonically daring for its time, engaging in arresting modulations and irregular chord progressions that leave the listener exclaiming, “What the…?!” Being more keyed into the Old Testament than the New, at first I thought “Levatione” was a reference to “Leviathan,” the biblical fish that swallowed Jonah, which would lend a certain programmatic rationale to Froberger’s fishy chromatics. But according to the album note, “Levatione” is a fairly common term found in the keyboard works of 17th-century composers, and it refers to the Eucharistic transubstantiation of the Mass from purely symbolic to actual sacrifice.


Next in chronological order is Jean-Henri D’Anglebert (1629–1691). One of the leading harpsichordists and organists of his day, D’Anglebert was a longer-lived contemporary of the elder Couperin, Louis. For a time, D’Anglebert served as court harpsichordist to Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, then took over the post of Chambonnières, and eventually ended up in service to the Dauphine Duchess Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria. The significance of D’Anglebert’s output is not in its size—he actually didn’t compose all that much—but in its establishing a periodic table, if you will, of standard ornaments that would become the model for François Couperin and Bach. His main work is a collection of four keyboard suites published in Paris in 1689 under the title Pièces de clavecin . It’s the Second Suite in G Minor from that collection that’s heard here.


Vivaldi (1678–1741), of course, needs no introduction, but he’s next in the chronology of the four composers represented on the disc. According to a catalog of Vivaldi’s works, RV 299 is a violin concerto, specifically, No. 8 from the set of 12 concertos collected under op. 7. Listeners will almost certainly recognize this keyboard version of it as the arrangement Bach made for solo harpsichord, BWV 973.


Finally, we have by the composer who, contrary to the album’s title, actually was born a Bach, namely Johann Sebastian Bach, three of his well-known solo harpsichord works, two of them the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue and the Italian Concerto being the second and third most popular of all his keyboard pieces, with 130 and 185 recordings, respectively. What’s the first? The Goldberg Variations , with over 200 entries and counting. The third Bach work on the disc, the French Suite No. 2 in C Minor, though also well loved, comes in a far, far distant runner-up with a meager 60 recordings listed.


A Leipzig native, Mechthild Winter (b. 1969) completed her harpsichord studies with famed keyboardist Andreas Staier. She has successfully competed in a number of competitions and currently holds a teaching position at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig. I’d not encountered Winter before this, though I note a previous recording on Berlin Classics in which she’s a participant in a performance of a Concertino for Piccolo, Strings, and Harpsichord by modern British composer Allan Stephenson.


There are simply too many recordings of the Bach works on this disc to say that Winter’s performances are better than or best among, name your favorites. Besides, the point of this program seems to be to present examples of works by French, German, and Italian forerunners of Bach that played a significant role in influencing his music. To that extent, this is a most informative and enjoyable CD. And once again, I would just mention the remarkably beautiful harpsichord Winter plays and Querstand’s excellent recording of it. Very highly recommended.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Suite for harpsichord No. 2 in G minor (Pièces de Claveçin) by Jean-Henri D'Anglebert
Performer:  Mechthild Winter (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 09/2010 
Venue:  Evangelisch-lutherische Gnadenkirche Lei 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
2. Libro secondo di toccate: Toccata no 6 in G minor "Da sonarsi alla Levatione" by Johann Jacob Froberger
Performer:  Mechthild Winter (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1649; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/2010 
Venue:  Evangelisch-lutherische Gnadenkirche Lei 
Length: 3 Minutes 55 Secs. 
3. Capriccio, for keyboard in C major/G major, FbWV 506 by Johann Jacob Froberger
Performer:  Mechthild Winter (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1658 
Date of Recording: 09/2010 
Venue:  Evangelisch-lutherische Gnadenkirche Lei 
Length: 4 Minutes 6 Secs. 
4. French Suite no 2 in C minor, BWV 813 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Mechthild Winter (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/2010 
Venue:  Evangelisch-lutherische Gnadenkirche Lei 
Length: 12 Minutes 12 Secs. 
5. Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Mechthild Winter (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/2010 
Venue:  Evangelisch-lutherische Gnadenkirche Lei 
Length: 12 Minutes 30 Secs. 
6. Concerto in G major after Vivaldi, BWV 973 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Mechthild Winter (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/2010 
Venue:  Evangelisch-lutherische Gnadenkirche Lei 
Length: 7 Minutes 39 Secs. 
7. Italian Concerto, BWV 971 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Mechthild Winter (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/2010 
Venue:  Evangelisch-lutherische Gnadenkirche Lei 
Length: 13 Minutes 14 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook