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“The Travels of FROBERGER” – Music by FROBERGER and his contemporaries – Magdalena Hasibeder, harpsichords & organ – Raumklang (2 CDs)

“The Travels of FROBERGER” – Music by FROBERGER and his contemporaries – Magdalena Hasibeder, harpsichords and organ – Raumklang (2 CDs) RK 3503, TT: 2:19:13 (6/17/16)  [Dist. by Naxos] *****:

A magnificent set of keyboard music of Froberger & others.

Johann Jacob Froberger’s 400th birthday has inspired a large number of brilliant recorded responses that have both individually and cumulatively brought an immensely influential musical force back into view.

Froberger was born in Stuttgart in 1616 and died in 1667 in the service of a widowed Duchess in the House of Württemberg. He traveled extensively and wrote mainly for keyboard instruments and in many forms, so that his influence was felt across the breadth of the burgeoning international (I.e., European) classical music network. He used all the keyboard instruments common at that time; on this recording, the wonderfully expressive Magdalena Hasibeder plays Vienna’s oldest playable organ, built in 1642/43 by Johann Wöckherl and erected in the choir of the Franziskanerkirche.

Hasibeder’s harpsichords are an anonymous Italian instrument from the mid-17th century and a two-manual model from Avignon built ca. 1680 and attributed to Claude Labréche, voiced with real quills, and strung in historical iron wire based upon studies of surviving wire samples. And as recorded at the fabled Music Instrument Collection of the Landesmuseum in Württemberg, it is an audiophile’s dream Froberger demo.

The handsomely-packaged, double-CD set immerses the listener in the kind of real sense of the time that historians provide, in addition to a healthy helping of some major Froberger. Hasibeder plays music by Luzzasco Luzzaschi, Giovanni Gabrieli, Matthias Weckmann, Alessandro Poglieti, Louis Couperin, Johann Ulrich Steigleder, Wolfgang Ebner, Johann Caspar Kerll, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and Michelangelo Rossi.

The sound of the ancient organ in the Viennese church is precious and immense at the same time, and the liner notes make a great Frobergian travel guide.

—Laurence Vittes

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