In his recording of Bach's 48 Colin Tilney, unlike his fellow competitors in the same repertory, plays both a clavichord (Book 1) and a harpsichord (Book 2). Why not? Bach's title for the first book of 24 preludes and fugues, The Well-tempered Clavier leaves both this issue and that of tuning wide open. The clavichord was a favourite instrument of Bach's, so was the harpsichord and the organ; indeed, I am sorry that Tilney does not include a chamber organ since some of the pieces, the E major Prelude and Fugue (Book 2), for instance, seem well-suited to it. Tilney's performance of the 48 differs again from almost if not all others in the sequence which he adopts in playing the preludes and fugues. But an apparently random approach is in fact nothing of the kind, but one that is directly linked with tuning. We know that Bach himself was a master in matters of tuning as he was in all other aspects of his craft. What we do not know is the exact nature of his tuning.
William Byrd (c.1543 – 1623) was considered by his contemporaries to be a musician without peer. The music he wrote for voices to sing is generally recognized as his chief glory. While there are no transcriptions of chansons or song intabulations among his instrumental works, every moving line in one of his fantasies or pavans is in essence a wordless voice, having different registers and needing breath. Presented here by acclaimed harpsichordist Colin Tilney is a delectable assortment of keyboard works highlighting the vocal character of Byrd’s writing including his exquisite setting of John Dowland’s famed Pavan "Lachrymae."
In his notes Colin Tilney says that the use of small rooms advocated by Caccini and his colleagues helped the audience to hear the words. Well, a recording heard in one's own music room represents a small enough space, but the listener to this disc will often find the printed texts invaluable; Julianne Baird seems to sacrifice some clarity to the beauty of her musical lines, the 'bel-ness' of her canto.
A release of great importance: the first time CD-issue of the Complete Works of Girolamo Frescobaldi. This edition provides a superb opportunity to discover this neglected master of the Baroque. The project is masterminded by the harpsichordist and organist Roberto Loreggian, and previous individual volumes of the series have been well received. This is there first ever complete edition of Frescobaldi’s music to be issued: a landmark on record, sure to be widely noticed by the musical press.
This is a significant recording for several reasons. Sergio Vartolo has now recorded all of Frescobaldi’s keyboard music (the other issues were on the Tactus label). The Fantasie (1608) and Ricercari (1615) are the earliest of Frescobaldi’s keyboard publications (the latter being issued in the same year as the more famous first book of Toccatas), and as far as I’m aware neither had been issued complete before; so to get both together, and at super-budget price, is treasure-trove indeed. Frescobaldi fanatics need read no further. (Gramophone)
Frescobaldi was the most influential composer for keyboard in Italy prior to Domenico Scarlatti. Bach copied out Frescobaldi’s Fiori Musicali, and he was also a strong influence on Fux and Buxtehude. His reputation has been slow to gain its rightful status over the past century or so. This edition provides a superb opportunity to discover this neglected master of the Baroque.