Harpsichord

Mahan Esfahani at Carnegie

Mahan Esfahani rehearsing in Weill Recital Hall

Mahan Esfahani, who performed the Goldberg Variations in New York City in the fall (see my earlier post), returned on May 1 for a solo recital in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. The program was a diverse one of Frescobaldi, Rameau, Benda, and Bach. The instrument was once again a French double after Hemsch and Blanchet built in 2010 by the Montreal maker Yves Beaupré—an instrument that usually resides in our living room.   The things that always stand out for me in Mahan's playing are virtuosity, varied color, and passionate commitment, all of which were very much in evidence throughout the program. The opening set of Frescobaldi pieces included the famous Toccata settima, played with freedom and brilliance...

Goldbergs One More Time: Jean Rondeau at the Morgan

Jean Rondeau

For the NYC performance, Jean Rondeau sat at a French double by David J. Way (1987) and opened the recital not with the famous Aria but with an apparently improvised prelude, which had the character of a prélude non mesuré from an earlier generation of clavecinistes. But then the Aria arrived, first with the standard ornamentation, then with more ornaments on the repeats, all done with skill and taste. The thirty variations that followed were impeccably rendered, by turns dazzling and sensuous...

“One of the greatest keyboard pieces ever written”—Wilfrid Mellers

Rebecca Pechefsky and Couperin

Around 1973 my first lute teacher, Frank Eyler, lent me Wilfrid Mellers’s classic study on François Couperin, whose music was then entering my life.  ...About the same time, I bought the Vox Box of Couperin harpsichord suites performed by Alan Curtis—six long-playing sides that I listened to again and again, returning most frequently to the Huitième Ordre in B minor (1717). As it happens, Mellers singled out the Huitième for special praise: it was, he wrote, “almost uniformly serious, even tragic ... a good case can be made out for the eighth as the greatest individual ordre.”  So it was with great joy that my wife, Rebecca Pechefsky, and I embarked on our latest project back in January: a video of the entire suite, played on a French double-manual instrument built by Yves Beaupré in 2010 that we purchased, at least in part, with a view to recording this work.  Read on and enjoy the video here...

Introducing Erik Ryding as Principal Capriccio Blogger

Capriccio is delighted to welcome Erik Ryding as a principal Blogger on its new Music Review & Literary Review Blogs.  A lutenist, Erik Ryding is an award-winning author, writer of program notes for NYC's most prestigious music venues, pre-concert lecturer, & president of Quill Classics.  Click on "Music Reviews" above to read Erik's blog on a recent NYC happening. 

"Zuzana: Music is Life" - Discount offered for Encore Screening

Capriccio Baroque is pleased to join the DC Jewish Community Center in co-presenting an Encore Screening of this compelling documentary about the life of renowned Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Ruzickova.  Followers of Capriccio Baroque qualify for discounted tickets at $10 when using the code CBZUZ10 to purchase tickets at https://www.wjff.org/film/zuzana/

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