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Buxtehude: Complete Harpsichord Music / Simone Stella


Release Date: 02/28/2012 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 94312  
Composer:  Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



BUXTEHUDE Complete Harpsichord Music Simone Stella (hpd) BRILLIANT 94312 (4 CDs: 279:10)


Decisions, decisions. Does one go with the four-CD set here on Brilliant, played with the proper style by Simone Stella, or the competing set—issued piecemeal, as is their wont—on Naxos by Lars Ulrik Mortensen? Although this set is titled Complete Harpsichord Music, it does not include the aria “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern,” BuxWV 223; the Prelude in G, Read more BuxWV 162; or the Fugue in B?, BuxWV 176, which are in the Mortensen set. That’s because they were originally written for organ, so in a sense Stella is purer.


Be that as it may, there is a great deal to admire here. There’s no question that Stella has the proper Buxtehude style, which is to play with irregular meter and with the parts of both hands slightly out-of-synch much of the time, which creates a weird tension. He also dances and sparkles in several of the allemandes, particularly the one that begins the partida Auf meinen lieben Gott.


Stella is also excellent in the long sets of variations, given the deceiving titles of “arias,” in BuxWV 247 (“More Palatino”), BuxWV 246 (no title), and the more famous “La Capricciosa” (BuxWV 250), an astounding work for its time, a set of 32 variations that can rival some of Bach’s and Mozart’s in originality and complexity. I also love Stella’s daring in occasionally altering the sound of his harpsichord with the damper pedal, which makes the instrument sound very much like a lute. Of course, Mortensen is also a highly skilled harpsichordist, so in many ways I find their work complementary.


One online review of Buxtehude’s keyboard music claims that he wrote “both pedaliter and manualiter works,” but that his most famous pieces are the “praeludia and toccatas in the stylus phantasticus, which intermingles highly unpredictable free sections in virtuosic and idiomatic keyboard styles with more structured fugal sections.” How about that? I suppose this is how you write when you’re trying to impress your college professor, but I doubt whether any readers who are not professional musicians even know what a pedaliter or a manualiter is. (These terms actually refer to the organ, not the harpsichord, “manualiter” meaning works played only using the manuals and not the pedals.) I’m more interested in whether or not the music is creative, surprising, well crafted, and conveys some meaning to the listener. Buxtehude fulfills all those criteria for me, so that is why I love his pieces. Another feature of his work that I admire: There almost never seems to be even one superfluous note in anything he wrote. And yes, I can describe technically what’s going on in the music—how the notes for both hands contrast with or complement one another—without needing to break down a manualiter. I also prefer the description that one of my Fanfare colleagues gave of Buxtehude’s music when he called it “Bach in the raw.” That conveys far more to me than the stylus phantasticus in the pedaliter. How about you?


Perhaps the strongest element in Stella’s favor is the price. On ArkivMusic’s website, Brilliant is selling this boxed set for $19.99, while Mortensen’s single discs sell for $9.99 apiece. As for me, I give a very slight edge to Mortensen in performance quality, but not enough to warrant double the price. I say go for this one.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1. Variations (32) for Harpsichord in G major BuxWV 250 "La Capricciosa" by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
2. Toccata for keyboard in G major, BuxWV 165 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
3. Suite for Harpsichord no 7 in D minor, BuxWV 234 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
4. Suite for Harpsichord no 6 in D minor, BuxWV 233 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
5. Suite for Harpsichord no 5 in C major, BuxWV 230 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
6. Suite for Harpsichord no 4 in C major, BuxWV 229 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
7. Suite for Harpsichord no 3 in C major, BuxWV 228 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
8. Suite for Harpsichord no 2 in C major, BuxWV 227 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
9. Suite for Harpsichord no 19 in A major, BuxWV 243 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
10. Suite for Harpsichord no 13 in F major, BuxWV 238 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
11. Suite for Harpsichord no 11 in E minor, BuxWV 236 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
12. Suite for Harpsichord no 10 in E minor, BuxWV 235 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
13. Suite for Harpsichord no 1 in C major, BuxWV 226 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
14. Suite for Harpsichord in G minor, BuxWV 242 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
15. Suite for Harpsichord in G minor, BuxWV 241 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
16. Suite for Harpsichord in G major, BuxWV 240 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
17. Suite for Harpsichord in F major, BuxWV 239 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
18. Suite for Harpsichord in E minor, BuxWV 237 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
19. Suite for Harpsichord in D major, BuxWV 232 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
20. Suite for Harpsichord in C major, BuxWV 231 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
21. Suite for Harpsichord in A minor, BuxWV 244 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
22. Praeludium for keyboard in G minor, BuxWV 163 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1690; Germany 
23. Courante for Harpsichord in d minor, BuxWV Anh. 6 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
24. Courant zimble for Harpsichord in A minor, BuxWV 245 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
25. Canzonetta for Organ in D minor, BuxWV 168 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
26. Canzona for Organ in C major, BuxWV 166 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
27. Auf meinen lieben Gott, BuxWV 179 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
28. Aria and Variations (3) for Harpsichord in D minor, BuxWV 248 "Rofilis" by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
29. Aria and Variations (3) for Harpsichord in A minor, BuxWV 249 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
30. Aria and Variations (10) for Keyboard in C major, BuxWV 246 by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
31. Aria and Variations (10) for Harpsichord, in C major BuxWV 247 "More Palatino" by Dietrich Buxtehude
Performer:  Simone Stella (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 

Sound Samples

Aria and 3 variations in D Minor, BuxWV 248, "Rofilis"
Suite in G Major, BuxWV 240: I. Allemande
Suite in G Major, BuxWV 240: II. Courante
Suite in G Major, BuxWV 240: III. Sarabande
Suite in G Major, BuxWV 240: IV. Gigue
Suite in E Minor, BuxWV 237: I. Allemande
Suite in E Minor, BuxWV 237: II. Courante
Suite in E Minor, BuxWV 237: III. Sarabande I
Suite in E Minor, BuxWV 237: IV. Sarabande II
Suite in E Minor, BuxWV 237: V. Gigue
Courante in D Minor, BuxWV Anh. 6
Suite in D Minor, BuxWV 234: I. Allemande
Suite in D Minor, BuxWV 234: II. Double
Suite in D Minor, BuxWV 234: III. Courante
Suite in D Minor, BuxWV 234: IV. Double
Suite in D Minor, BuxWV 234: V. Sarabande I
Suite in D Minor, BuxWV 234: VI. Sarabande II
Suite in D Major, BuxWV 232: I. Allemande
Suite in D Major, BuxWV 232: II. Courante
Auf meinen lieben Gott, BuxWV 179: I. (Allemande)
Auf meinen lieben Gott, BuxWV 179: II. Double
Auf meinen lieben Gott, BuxWV 179: III. Courante
Auf meinen lieben Gott, BuxWV 179: IV. Sarabande
Auf meinen lieben Gott, BuxWV 179: V. Gigue
Suite in C Major, BuxWV 230: I. Allemande
Suite in C Major, BuxWV 230: II. Courante
Suite in C Major, BuxWV 230: III. Sarabande
Suite in C Major, BuxWV 230: IV. Gigue
Suite in G Minor, BuxWV 242: I. Allemande
Suite in G Minor, BuxWV 242: II. Courante
Suite in G Minor, BuxWV 242: III. Sarabande
Suite in G Minor, BuxWV 242: IV. Gigue
Canzona in C Major, BuxWV 166
Arias: More Palatino with 12 variations in C Major, BuxWV 247: Variation 1
Arias: More Palatino with 12 variations in C Major, BuxWV 247: Variation 2
Arias: More Palatino with 12 variations in C Major, BuxWV 247: Variation 3
Arias: More Palatino with 12 variations in C Major, BuxWV 247: Variation 4
Arias: More Palatino with 12 variations in C Major, BuxWV 247: Variation 5
Arias: More Palatino with 12 variations in C Major, BuxWV 247: Variation 6
Arias: More Palatino with 12 variations in C Major, BuxWV 247: Variation 7
Arias: More Palatino with 12 variations in C Major, BuxWV 247: Variation 8
Arias: More Palatino with 12 variations in C Major, BuxWV 247: Variation 9
Arias: More Palatino with 12 variations in C Major, BuxWV 247: Variation 10
Arias: More Palatino with 12 variations in C Major, BuxWV 247: Variation 11
Arias: More Palatino with 12 variations in C Major, BuxWV 247: Variation 12
Suite in G Minor, BuxWV 241: I. Allemande
Suite in G Minor, BuxWV 241: II. Courante
Suite in G Minor, BuxWV 241: III. Sarabande
Suite in G Minor, BuxWV 241: IV. Gigue
Suite in C Major, BuxWV 228: I. Allemande
Suite in C Major, BuxWV 228: II. Courante
Suite in C Major, BuxWV 228: III. Sarabande
Suite in C Major, BuxWV 228: IV. Double
Suite in C Major, BuxWV 228: V. Gigue
Suite in A Minor, BuxWV deest: I. Allemande
Suite in A Minor, BuxWV deest: II. Courante
Suite in A Minor, BuxWV deest: III. Sarabande
Suite in A Minor, BuxWV deest: IV. Gigue
Suite in A Major, BuxWV 243: I. Allemande
Suite in A Major, BuxWV 243: II. Courante
Suite in A Major, BuxWV 243: III. Sarabande
Suite in A Major, BuxWV 243: IV. Gigue
Suite in D Minor, BuxWV 234a: I. Allemande
Suite in D Minor, BuxWV 234a: II. Courante
Suite in D Minor, BuxWV 234a: III. Sarabande
Suite in D Minor, BuxWV 234a: IV. Gigue
Suite in C Major, BuxWV 229: I. Allemande
Suite in C Major, BuxWV 229: II. Courante
Suite in C Major, BuxWV 229: III. Sarabande
Prelude in G Minor, BuxWV 163: Praeludium in G Minor, BuxWV 163

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Good Playing -- Bad Instrument September 20, 2013 By Edward Greene (Bath, ME) See All My Reviews "I really tried to like this set of the Complete Harpsichord Music of Buxtehude, who is one of my favorite composers. But alas! No matter how well Simone Stella plays the pieces (and he does pretty well) his music is marred by a very poor instrument. The program notes do not identify the maker of the harpsichord, but state that it is based on an instrument by Johannes Ruckers, Antwerp, 1638. Baloney! It sounds to me like a factory-made plywood behemoth complete with leather plectra. It harks back to the 1950's, not the 1630's. Both 8-foot choirs have numerous wolf notes (made even more irritating when the buff stop is employed) and the 4-foot choir is shrill and strident. An instrument to set one's teeth on edge. The price is right, but for musical value it would be a better investment to buy the much more expensive set by Ton Koopman. You get what you pay for." Report Abuse
 Joy anf Gaiety from Buxtehude July 10, 2012 By S Cohenroellvaneyck (SOUTH WENTWORTHVILLE, NSW) See All My Reviews "There are 4 CDs. This is how a clavecin really sounds, no heavy leaning on ther manuals but lightly tiptoeing. Some pieces I recognise as folk tunes and as such must have stirred the audience in admiration. The musical pieces are in the the usual order, the fashion of his time: Allemande Courante Sarabande and Gigue. There are many variations and extensions ( as encore ) Such dancing was made and appreciated as music for having a party at home (well-to-do). The music is light and engaging, like the dances heard in the video of "Pride and Prejudice". Sometimes the melody bursts out like a song or (I sense) like a singing by a classroom of girls. Why is this music not more widely known? It is so good and surprisingly lyric. Some melodies or onsets are used by later composers, I recognise these are precursors to variations by Bach Handel Purcell and Mozart. Some could well be played as background music when having a dinner party, Abendmusik and Mozarts Nachtmusik (eine kleine -variations-), it stirs my heart Simone Stella is a wonderful performer and she has ample opportunity to put her feelings into play which (playing depends on the mood, understanding and time of day and so on) and that can be felt when listening with care. Four CDs and wonderful enjoyable music thanks to Simone Stella and Buxtehude." Report Abuse
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