Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Christoph Graupner, Geneviève Soly|
Graupner: Partitas for Harpsichord, Vol. 4
First-Rate and Stunningly Beautiful Baroque Keyboard Music
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 01/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've fallen increasingly under the spell of the music of Christoph Graupner (1683-1760) who was a near-contemporary of Bach who toiled in near-obscurity for almost all his productive life in the south German city of Darmstadt, where he was kapellmeister of the court church from 1709 until he became blind in 1753. Little of his music was published in his lifetime and when some of it was published in the 20th century it was mostly ignored. Enter Montréal harpsichordist, organist and musicologist Geneviève Soly who, after discovering some Graupner harpsichord partitas in the Yale library, has made it her life-work to discover as much as possible about the composer and to publish and record as much as she can. This is, by my count, the seventh CD (four instrumental, three vocal/instrumental) in an ongoing series of recordings of Graupner's music featuring Mlle Soly sometimes alone at the harpsichord keyboard and sometimes with the instrumental and vocal group she founded for this purpose, Les Idées heureuses. She is also reported to be preparing and publishing a critical edition of his keyboard works. All hail to her for giving us these lively, lovely and enchanting performances. May they continue.
This CD contains three (Nos. 4, 5 & 7) of a group of seven partitas published at his own expense by Graupner in 1718 and never reissued since then. Only four copies of the originals are known to exist. Partita No. 4 in D Minor (GWV 104) is technically the least difficult of the seven and was intended, probably, as Graupner explains in the preface to his edition, for 'weaker' players. Nonetheless, it is an extraordinarily lovely thing with unfailingly beautiful melodies clothed in the prevailing 'French' style of the day. The Allemande is beguiling; toward the end there is an unusual German-style ornament, the so-called 'Schneller,' which is an upside-down mordent. The last movement, the Minuet, is a vigorous dance that will have you tapping your toe. Mlle Soly is a master of rhythm and articulation here. She is, by the way, playing a very attractive-sounding harpsichord made in 1998 by Hubbard & Broekman, after an instrument of the period by Haas.
A striking, much brighter, registration ushers in Partita No. 5 in E Flat (GWV105) whose opening Allemande tells us that we are still in the French style. Mlle Soly's ornaments in the repeats of this movement are imaginative and apt. The Sarabande has a rare appearance of a 7th chord towards the end, colorful and unexpected. A lively Gique (sic; Graupner's spelling) features scale figures that chase each other and rounds out the fifth partita.
Partita No. 7 in E Minor (GWV 107) is in the Italian style. Mlle Soly added a movement to the piece, a 'Sommeille' which comes from a different partita that has some overlap of movements with No. 7. She did so, she says, because it is an 'operatic' movement and fits in with the rather operatic style of the partita as whole. Mlle Soly notes that the opening theme of the Sarabande is identical to that of the soprano aria 'Quia respexit humilitatem' from Bach's 'Magnificat' which, of course, Bach hadn't yet written. In the final Gigue use is made of 4 notes against 3, a little unusual for a dance form that is usually in an unbridled 6/8.
You'll forgive me for having quoted and paraphrased some of Mlle Soly's extremely helpful booklet notes, but since she's the foremost musicological authority on this composer one can hardly blame me.
This is a beautiful disc and I heartily recommend it.
Superb Harspichord Disc
Richard J. Milner | Canberra, Australia | 09/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This wonderful CD was a revelation to me - I had heard of Graupner but had no idea he wrote such wonderful harpsichord music. The qulaity of the music is extremely high. Not unlike Louis Couperin in some ways it is tuneful and sparkling with ideas. The haprsichordist was also new to me and she is excellent with a rich souding harspichord. I urge you to buy all 4 CDs of the Graupner harpsichord music."