This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
There is little but pleasure to be found in this programme. Warmly recommended.
Here is a well-chosen group of harpsichord pieces out of which all of us must surely find at least one of our favourites. Certainly quite a few of mine are included but even were this not so I should, none the less, be enjoying Trevor Pinnock's sparkling and fluent performances. He begins with the Harmonious Blacksmith Air and Variations from Handel's Fifth Keyboard Suite. I can think of few performers who play Handel with so much natural grace as Pinnock; this is positive playing with a great deal of vitality to which is added some tasteful ornamentation.
I still have Wanda Landowska's weighty, even portentous performance of
J. C. F. Fischer's extended D minor Passacaglia from his Urania suite ringing in my ears. Pinnock's opening statement, by comparison, sounds almost jaunty. It's a majestic piece and Pinnock brings both virtuosity and grandeur to the variations; perhaps the opening might have been a little stronger but few will be disappointed either by the music or by this reading of it. No such anthology as this would be complete either without Couperin's elusively titled Les baricades misterieuses or Bach's Italian Concerto; both were drawing-room favourites well before the present harpsichord revival. I found Les baricades rhythmically a little inflexible in this performance but the Italian Concerto comes off splendidly.
Trevor Pinnock's approach to Rameau has always appealed to me. It is full of life and full of fund and that is true of many of the keyboard pieces. Occasionally I felt that the music's strength was emphasized at the expense of its gentler side; the third of the A minor Variations is a case in point where Pinnock's rhythmic drive diminishes the somewhat wistful character of the music. The last two variations sound triumphant and dazzle with virtuosity. As in his complete recording of this fine Suite in A minor (CRD1010, 2/75) he repeats the slow Gavotte at the conclusion of the last variation; I find that effective.
The high-spots of this recital for me were the two E major Scarlatti Sonatas, Kk380 and 381. The combination of Pinnock's colourfully imaginative interpretation together with a fine instrument brings this music to life in a thrilling way. They are probably late Scarlatti and contain a wide range of 'affects'. By comparison, the Fiocco Adagio seemed musically dull, especially when isolated from the other movements of the suite from which it is taken. Daquin's imitative miniature Le coucou comes as a welcome change, whilst Balbastre's La Suzanne makes a dashing conclusion to a well-recorded recital. I have already remarked upon the fine sound of the instrument which is modelled after Hemsch and built in 1983. Its tonal warmth is emphasized even more on CD and there is little but pleasure to be found in this programme. Warmly recommended.'
-- Nicholas Anderson, Gramophone (11/1984)
Works on This Recording
Italian Concerto, BWV 971 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Trevor Pinnock (Harpsichord)
Written: 1735; Leipzig, Germany
Featured Sound Samples
Harpsichord Suite no 5, HWV 430 (Handel): IV. Air and Variations "The Harmonious Blacksmith"
Premier livre de pièces (Daquin): Troisième suite - Le coucou
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