Monday, March 17, 2008

March Reviews

I have a personal blog, Midlife Music Musings, that includes a number of recent CD reviews. Here's a summary of some of the latest that relate to early music:
  • Mozart Sonatas & Rondos
    Marcia Hadjimarkos, Fortepiano
    Avie, AV 2138 (2007)
    Her performances are full of life and creativity, with her own distinctive personality stamped on them. The sound of this instrument is glorious: this is the fortepiano I would want, if I could afford one of Clarke's instruments.
  • Mondonville: Pieces for Harpsichord and Voice or Violin; Sonata No. 4
    Shannon Mercer, soprano and Luc Beauséjour, Harpsichord
    Analekta AN 2 9920
    Opus 5 is really beautiful music, in fact, memorable music. The longest piece, Protector meus, is darkly dramatic, with inventive harmonic twists that make one sit up and pay attention.
  • Johann Jacob Froberger: Complete Fantasias - Complete Canzonas - Toccatas
    Bob van Asperen, Cipri Organ of S. Martino, Balogna (1556)
    Aeolus AE-10501 (2006)
    However, it seems that van Asperen is often imprecise in his meter and makes little use of articulation. As a result, I often find it difficult to follow the voices, even with score in hand.
  • The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I
    Luc Beauséjour, Harpsichord
    Naxos 8.557625-26 (2007)
    Beauséjour's approach is very uncomplicated and tempi are on the brisk side: it is a very "pure" reading. For those who find Hantaï excessive, this might have a lot of appeal.
  • C.P.E. Bach Württemberg Sonatas
    Miklós Spányi, Clavichord
    BIS-CD-1424 (2007)
    Volume 17 of the complete solo keyboard works: one of the best, to-date.
  • Mr. Abel's Fine Airs
    Susanne Heinrich, viola da gamba
    Hyperion CDA67628 (2007)
    This has turned out to be a marvelous recording on all three fronts: the music is memorable, the sound is top notch, and the performance has just the right combination of heartfelt simplicity that seems to live up to Abel's reputation. I very much like Heinrich's warm and enthusiastic, yet sensible approach.

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