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Elizabeth Farr - Johann Sebastian Bach: Concertos for Solo Harpsichord (Complete) (2009) 2CDs

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Elizabeth Farr - Johann Sebastian Bach: Concertos for Solo Harpsichord (Complete) (2009) 2CDs

Elizabeth Farr - J.S. Bach: Concertos for Solo Harpsichord (Complete) (2009) 2CDs
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 934 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 355 Mb | Scans included
Classical, Baroque | Label: Naxos | # 8.572006-07 | Time: 02:30:31

This Bach release by American harpsichordist Elizabeth Farr is unusual in several respects and will be welcomed by listeners with Bach collections of any size. Start with the harpsichord, built by the iconoclastic maker Keith Hill in rural Manchester, MI. It's modeled on the Dutch Ruckers instruments of the 17th century, but it includes a set of 16-foot strings, and it has a truly mighty sound, beautifully captured at what is identified as Ploger Hall in the same locality. It's not clear what this venue is, but it's vast improvement over Naxos' preferred church sites. The booklet (in English only) includes a short note from Hill admitting that such a harpsichord would have been rare in Bach's time, but suggesting that it was a luxury item that its "value cannot be overestimated" when it is used where it makes musical sense. That's definitely the case here. These "concertos for solo harpsichord" are transcriptions Bach made for solo keyboard in the early 1710s, of mostly violin concertos by mostly Italian composers. It is not known for certain why Bach made them; he may simply have liked the music and wanted to study it more closely, but Farr's detailed notes also indicate that the transcriptions might have been done at the behest of Bach's patron at the time, the Duke of Weimar.

Davitt Moroney - Les Idées Heureuses: Hommage à François Couperin (1987)

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Davitt Moroney - Les Idées Heureuses: Hommage à François Couperin (1987)

Davitt Moroney - Les Idées Heureuses: Hommage à François Couperin (1987)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 466 Mb | Total time: 72:12 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Harmonia Mundi | # HMA 1901275 | Recorded: 1987

L'influence de Francois Couperin sur ses contemporains et ses successeurs de l'école francaise de clavecin voire même à travers l'europe, tel est le programme éminement didactique de Davitt Moroney dans son pur style des années 1990, celui des émissions qu'il animait sur France Musiques.

Benjamin Alard - Johann Sebastian Bach: The Complete Work for Keyboard 4 - Alla veneziana (2021)

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Benjamin Alard - Johann Sebastian Bach: The Complete Work for Keyboard 4 - Alla veneziana (2021)

Benjamin Alard - Johann Sebastian Bach: The Complete Work for Keyboard 4 - Alla veneziana (2021)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 1.12 Gb | Total time: 03:16:55 | Scans included
Classical | Harmonia Mundi | HMM 902460.62 | Recorded: 2019, 2020

With this volume 4 in a complete recording of Bach’s keyboard works whose ingenuity has been underlined by every reviewer (e.g. Gramophone, July 2020), Benjamin Alard continues to explore the Weimar period, known as that of his ‘early mastery’. After À la française, we turn to Italy, where the Vivaldian concerto reigned in Venice. The young Bach created here a wonderful space of freedom between the transcriber and the improviser. For ‘if transcription is a matter of freedom, it is also a matter of powerful imagination: each piece on this recording transports us into a Venetian universe that fascinated Bach as much as it inspired him’, as Benjamin Alard demonstrates on three exceptional instruments.

Benjamin Alard - Johann Sebastian Bach: The Complete Work for Keyboard 3 - In the French Style (2020)

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Benjamin Alard - Johann Sebastian Bach: The Complete Work for Keyboard 3 - In the French Style (2020)

Benjamin Alard - Johann Sebastian Bach: The Complete Work for Keyboard 3 - In the French Style (2020)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 1.17 Gb | Total time: 03:29:19 | Scans included
Classical | Harmonia Mundi | HMM 902457.59 | Recorded: 2018, 2019

Having already attracted attention for his exceptional gifts, Bach entered the service of the Weimar court at the age of twenty-three. This was the start of the period known as his ‘early maturity’, in which his formal and expressive experiments reflect a significant interest in French music and ‘la belle danse’. The close intertwining of French and German styles is the dominant feature of this third volume in Benjamin Alard’s recording of the complete organ and harpsichord works.

Gustav Leonhardt - William Byrd: Harpsichord Music (2005) [Re-Up]

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Gustav Leonhardt - William Byrd: Harpsichord Music (2005) [Re-Up]

Gustav Leonhardt - William Byrd: Harpsichord Music (2005)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 317 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 119 Mb | Scans ~ 157 Mb
Genre: Classical | Label: Alpha Productions | # ALPHA 073 | Time: 00:52:13

If the Alpha label had done nothing more than return Gustav Leonhardt to the studio, it would still be one of the best contemporary classical record companies. That everything else about its releases – the sound, the liner notes, even the reproductions on the covers – is as good or better than what any other classical company manages is only icing on the cake. Leonhardt has been one of the finest harpsichordists in the world for more than 40 years, and his recordings of the repertoire from Frescobaldi to Bach have been the standards against which all other recordings have been judged. But Leonhardt had made no recordings for most of the last decade, and listeners began to wonder if he ever would again. Now, with his fourth release for Alpha, listeners can finally relax, confident in the knowledge that Leonhardt has indeed returned. This 2005 disc of keyboard music by Byrd finds Leonhardt at the top of his form. As always, his technique is secure, and nothing in Byrd's virtuoso writing is beyond him. And, as always, his musicianship is assured, and nothing in Byrd's sensitive music is beyond him.

Rudolf Scheidegger, Willi Zimmermann, Jac van Steen - Martin: Concertos, Vol. 2 (2008)

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Rudolf Scheidegger, Willi Zimmermann, Jac van Steen - Martin: Concertos, Vol. 2 (2008)

Rudolf Scheidegger, Willi Zimmermann, Jac van Steen - Martin: Concertos, Vol. 2 (2008)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 281 MB | 01:00:28
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Scene

The works of Swiss composer Frank Martin don't rely on dramatic flash; they tend to seductively beguile with their profoundly intelligent sensuality. While they may never be hits on a pops concert, they reward attentive listening with their deep feeling and insight, given voice in a distinctly personal and expressive language. Polyptyque, one of the composer's final works, a concerto for violin and two small string orchestras, is made up of six images from the life of Christ, from Palm Sunday to the Ascension.

Agustín Álvarez - Nicolas Lebègue: Les Pièces de Clavessin - Books I & II (2020)

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Agustín Álvarez - Nicolas Lebègue: Les Pièces de Clavessin - Books I & II (2020)

Agustín Álvarez - Nicolas Lebègue: Les Pièces de Clavessin - Books I & II (2020)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 1.30 Gb | Total time: 03:09:11 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Brilliant Classics | # 95671 | Recorded: 2018, 2019

Nicolas Lebègue (1631-1702) is largely represented in the record catalogue by albums of organ music. Yet his pieces for harpsichord are no less distinctive and appealing in their way, and this new recording presents a rare chance to survey that side of his output in toto.

Franz Raml - Scheidt: Tabulatura Nova, Vol. 2 (2008)

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Franz Raml - Scheidt: Tabulatura Nova, Vol. 2 (2008)

Franz Raml - Scheidt: Tabulatura Nova, Vol. 2 (2008)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 669 MB | 01:57:56
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Scene

Samuel Scheidt's Tabulatura Nova, published in three parts in the early seventeenth century, is one of those checkpoints that music history students have to learn. It was a collection of keyboard music with mostly instructional intent, making up a compendium of North German polyphonic techniques. The Tabulatura Nova was an early example of the exhaustiveness of musical thinking that became one of Bach's key characteristics, and it pointed to Bach as well in its density and overall conservatism. This double disc, covering the second of the Tabulatura Nova's three volumes, includes early fugues, fantasias, dances, an impressive toccata, and pieces intended for sacred use, including several based on chorales.

Franz Raml - Scheidt: Tabulatura Nova, Vol. 1 (2003)

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Franz Raml - Scheidt: Tabulatura Nova, Vol. 1 (2003)

Franz Raml - Scheidt: Tabulatura Nova, Vol. 1 (2003)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 756 MB | 02:13:54
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Scene

Many German composers of the early 17th century went to Italy to study the newest musical trends. Samuel Scheidt, one of the main representatives of the North German organ school, did not do this. He went to Amsterdam instead, to study with the famous organist and composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. But although Sweelinck, as far as we know, never left the Netherlands, he was very well aware of everything that was happening all over Europe.

Noëlle Spieth - Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccatas, BWV910-916 (2012)

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Noëlle Spieth - Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccatas, BWV910-916 (2012)

Noëlle Spieth - Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccatas, BWV910-916 (2012)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 481 Mb | Total time: 70:05 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Eloquentia | # EL 1234 | Recorded: 2011

When, around 1705, Johann Sebastian Bach came to write his Toccatas, this form of keyboard music had already been known for over a century, and was strongly influenced by Italian, English and Flemish ideas. The Toccata was a product of both vocal and instrumental music, and preserved many of its distinctive features.

E. Power Biggs - Johann Sebastian Bach: The Six Trio Sonatas (1998)

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E. Power Biggs - Johann Sebastian Bach: The Six Trio Sonatas (1998)

E. Power Biggs - Johann Sebastian Bach: The Six Trio Sonatas (1998)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 555 Mb | Total time: 74:16 | Scans included
Classical | Sony Essential Classics | SBK 60290 | Recorded: 1966

The E. Power Biggs recording of Bach's six Trio Sonatas needs little introduction. Recorded by Biggs in 1966, the performances have been a staple of the CBS/Sony discography. These six sonatas are usually performed on organ, but they excellently accomodate the pedal harpsichord. Generally thought of as a practice instrument for organists, the pedal harpsichord becomes an ideal performing tool with E. Power Biggs at the helm.

Siegbert Rampe - W.F. Bach: Polonaises (2009)

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Siegbert Rampe - W.F. Bach: Polonaises (2009)

Siegbert Rampe - W.F. Bach: Polonaises (2009)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 436 MB | 01:07:18
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Gold

Although finally welcomed into the classical canon – with some trepidation late in the 20th century, mostly among the cognoscenti, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach remains a bit of a cipher to many listeners, among the musical sons of Bach whom they've never heard anything from. The experts who love him attest to his high level of enigmatic eccentricity and his sense of stylistic separation from any other Bach son, and this echoes to some extent what Carl Friedrich Zelter remembered about him long after Bach's death; "As a composer he was driven by a need to be original, to distance himself from his father and brothers." But also, as Zelter continued, "he fell into fussiness, pedantry and futility."

Franz Raml - Pachelbel: Clavier Music, Vol. 1 (2009)

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Franz Raml - Pachelbel: Clavier Music, Vol. 1 (2009)

Franz Raml - Pachelbel: Clavier Music, Vol. 1 (2009)
WEB | FLAC (tracks) - 327 MB | 01:06:29
Genre: Classical | Label: MDG Scene

Anyone who has ever worked in any aspect of classical music retailing has been asked the question "Did Pachelbel write anything else besides the Canon?" The answer is yes, and some of it is just as pleasing to the general listener as the Canon in D major, originally for three violins and continuo. Finding recordings of these works has been the tough part, but with growing interest in German music of the late seventeenth century, more choices are beginning to appear. This release by German audiophile label MDG is somewhat geeky in looks, but anyone who's ever wanted a Pachelbel disc should check it out. Not least for the sound; MDG has devoted itself mostly to chamber music, but the results the engineers obtain from the organ at St. Peter's church in the German city of Freiberg are really startling.

Scott Ross - J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations; Frescobaldi: Toccatas (2001)

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Scott Ross - J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations; Frescobaldi: Toccatas (2001)

Scott Ross - J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations; Frescobaldi: Toccatas (2001)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 1.03 Gb | Total time: 75:44+70:53 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Virgin Veritas | # 7243 5 61869 2 7 | Recorded: 1988, 1989

This 2-fer of Scott Ross' Goldberg Variations, plus selections from Frescobaldi's 1616 &1627 publications could hardly be better. The clarity of the lines in the Goldbergs alone is worth the price. The Frescobaldi selections are fresh and pleasing. As always, Mr. Ross plays in a lively, incisive, yet unaffected manner.

Davitt Moroney - François Couperin: L'Art de Toucher le Clavecin (1716); Second Livre de Pièces de Clavecin (1717) (2014)

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Davitt Moroney - François Couperin: L'Art de Toucher le Clavecin (1716); Second Livre de Pièces de Clavecin (1717) (2014)

Davitt Moroney - François Couperin: L'Art de Toucher le Clavecin (1716); Second Livre de Pièces de Clavecin (1717) (2014)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 1.93 Gb | Total time: 227:37 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Plectra Music | # PL21402 | Recorded: 2014

The harpsichord music of François Couperin (1668 –1733) is without question some of the instrument’s most important repertoire. His treatise L’art de toucher le clavecin [The Art of Harpsichord Playing, 1716] outlines the principles of good harpsichord playing, with information on ornaments, fingerings, and touch, and includes eight preludes and an Allemande. His four monumental volumes of harpsichord music contain over 230 individual pieces, and rare is the player who undertakes learning the entirety of this body of work. Davitt Moroney, a performer-scholar who has already recorded the complete works of Byrd and Louis Couperin, as well as the complete Well-Tempered Clavier, is currently recording these works for the Plectra label on magnificent antiques from the Flint Collection in Wilmington, Delaware.