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Joanna Leach
A Century of Domestic Keyboards 1727-1832

F. Couperin: Les Barricades Mystérieuses – Rondeau; F. Couperin: Les Folies Françaises, ou les Dominos;
W. Byrd: Pavan - The Earle of Salisbury
G.F. Handel: Fantasia in C, G.60; Sonata in G minor, G.273; Toccata in G minor, G.276; : Air and Variations, G.56
J. S. Bach: Prelude in E, BWV 933, No.5; Prelude in E minor, BWV 933, No.6; G.F. A. Soler: Sonata No.84 in D
W.A. Mozart: Adagio in B minor, KV 540;
F. Schubert: Six Dances (Walzer, D.145 No.6/Walzer, D.365 No.24/Ecossaise No.1, D.783 No.17/Deutscher Tanz, D.783 No.4/Ländler, D.790 No.4/Valse Sentimentale D.779 No.13; Ungarische Melodie, D.817;
F.Mendelssohn Bartholdy Songs Without Words (Venetianisches Gondellied in F# minor, Op.30 No.6/Venetianisches Gondellied in A minor, Op.62 No.5/Wie die Zeit läuft! : How Time Flies!/Lieder ohne Worte, Duetto, Op.38 No.6 Albumblatt in E minor, Op.117)

Athene ATH23026

The four instruments illustrated below, pictured at Joanna Leach's home, are typical domestic instruments of the period which she plays continually. The music spans just over one hundred yearsand the disc is the culmination of the Athene label's promotion of early pianos celebrated on Musical Pointers (e.g. Scarlatti 2007).

The carefully selected programme ranging from Byrd to Mendelssohn makes for delightful listening, with may gems on the way, notably a moving account of Mozart's B minor Adagio.

The recording (mostly in Axminster 2007-2008) and post production by Mike Beville is demonstrably a labour of love and there is a full page colour illustration of each of the pianos, by Barton, Longman & Broderip, Stodart and Clementi.

Very strongly recommended to afficionados of early pianos, and also to listeners who may have only a vague awareness of the field; an essential purchase.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Earlier reviews:
Peter Katin has said, “The modern pianist has to re-think many of his ideas when playing music of the period on square pianos. It is illuminating for any serious pianist to play - even briefly - one of these instruments; it may forever influence their performances of these works on the modern piano”. `
Dr. Peter Grahame-Woolf
for Classical Music on the Web wrote, “I would urge readers to listen to Joanna Leach's recording of John Field nocturnes on square pianos - it might change their lives!”