The Great Transcriptions – WEISS: Suite of 8 Dances; REINCKEN-J.S. BACH: Sonata in A Minor BWV 965; GEMINIANI: Pieces de Clavecin – Olga Martynova, harpsichord – Caro Mitis SACD

by | Jul 6, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

The Great Transcriptions – WEISS: Suite of 8 Dances;
REINCKEN-J.S. BACH: Sonata in A Minor BWV 965; GEMINIANI: Pieces de
Clavecin – Olga Martynova, harpsichord – Caro Mitis CM 0072004, 62:30
****:

Keyboard instruments, but primarily the harpsichord, had great
popularity in the 18th century.  Orchestral and chamber works were
transcribed for keyboard performance by amateurs.  Often new works
were offered in two versions: one for ensemble and one for
harpsichord.  Geminiani, for example, didn’t even write works for
harpsichord, but published keyboard versions of some of his violin
sonatas, and the closing selections on this disc are four such
movements. Weiss was a prolific composer of music for the lute, usually
written in tablature form rather than on the normal musical staff. He
created over 600 such works, and since both the lute and harpsichord
are plucked instruments transcription to the keyboard involves very
little effort.  All eight movements are dance forms such as
Courante, Gavotte and Gigue.  The longest is the majestic and
meditative Allemande.

The reproduction of the William Dowd American-made copy of a French
harpsichord is very detailed and transparent, but without emphasizing
the sounds of the action as do many harpsichord recordings. The
advantages of multichannel reproduction on this instrument are just as
strong as they are with regard to a grand piano.  Just mute the
surround channels and note how much more flat and two-dimensional the
sound becomes.

– John Sunier

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