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Harpsichords from early-music.com

Hard on Greenwich's Early Music Festival and a British debut of an impressive chamber group from Toronto's Royal Conservatory, this is a short note to welcome a batch of harpsichord CDs received from Canada, and to introduce Musical Pointers collectors of early music to a noteworthy Canadian company, early-music.com.

Beyond telling you that they have all given us enormous pleasure, and that each one is equally delectable, making recommendation of any one hard, there is really no need for me to paraphrase the well-written erudite and interesting essays provided by the three scholar-harpsichordists on early-music.com's splendid website, which reproduces the whole of the insert booklets, and with sample tracks to hear the sounds.

Timothy Roberts EMC CD 7760
A. & G. Gabrieli, Merulo, Banchieri, Picchi, Storace, Marcello & Galuppi

English harpsichordist Timothy Roberts features 16th to 18th C. works from Venice, Italy's leading centre of keyboard music, by Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, Claudio Merulo, Adriano Banchieri, Giovanni Picchi, Bernardo Storace, ending with sonatas by Benedetto Marcello and Baldassare Galuppi.

He recorded them in Glynde Parish Church, Sussex, in October 2003, playing on two Trasuntino/Rose harpsichords set up to illustrate how some earliest harpsichords were 'modernised' and saved, instead of being destroyed as obsolete.

Hank Knox EMC CD 7759
D’Anglebert Pièces de clavecin

Hank Knox plays D’Anglebert on the clavecytherium, a vertical harpsichord. Jean-Henry D’Anglebert (1629-1691) published his Pièces de clavecin (1689) two years before his death. In addition to his own compositions, the book included transcriptions of orchestral pieces by Jean-Baptiste Lully, some of them given here.

The Belin/Beaupré clavecytherium has a full, rich sound with some surprising sonorities. .


Johanne Couture EMCCD 7758
Louis Couperin, Gallot, Gaultier, Chambonnières

Johanne Couture plays a mellow-toned Vaudry/Beaupré harpsichord and features lute music transcribed for the harpsichord, a regular practice during 17C. France, in her programme of Louis Couperin, Gallot, Gaultier, Chambonnières, and others.

Just one cavil; I have rotated the cover image so that you can see what Dr Couture looks like. She ought to have rejected this demeaning sexist pose imposed by designer Lucie and photographer Alexandre; we are told who dressed her and did her hair and make up, but not what perfume she wore for the photo session!

Johanne Couture

© Peter Grahame Woolf