Trevor Pinnock is one of the world's leading exponents of historical performance practice, and this collection of Baroque keyboard favorites is one of his most successful attempts to communicate his musical values to a broad audience. These popular works are often anthologized, but seldom have they sounded as fresh and exciting as they do here. Handel's Harmonious Blacksmith and Bach's Italian Concerto are the best known of these selections, though Pinnock's playing liberates them from their use as flashy encore pieces and instead treats them as more intimate entertainments. François Couperin's magical Les baricades mistérieuses and Rameau's Gavotte Variations are also well known, and their inclusion on any disc of the harpsichord's "greatest hits" is de rigueur. Domenico Scarlatti's two Sonatas in E major are still brilliant, even at the lower tuning (A=415). The remaining works of this collection are perhaps less-widely heard, but each offers insights into both Pinnock's interpretive skills and the instrument's wealth of possibilities.
This is a really great five-CD set. You get all of Bach's concertos except the Brandenburgs - which is a shame because Pinnock's Brandenburgs are terrific. Nonetheless, this remains an absolutely cracking collection of some of Bach's most enjoyable music in excellent performances. In the Harpsichord Concertos Pinnock is himself the soloist and shows why he is such a very well-liked and highly regarded musician. The music springs to life under his fingers (and under his direction) and many of these performances set new and enduring standards when first released in the early 1980s. They have informed much subsequent Bach playing and have worn extremely well themselves, sounding as fresh and involving as they did nearly 30 years ago. He is joined by other fine harpsichordists in the concerti for two, three and four harpsichords, (Kenneth Gilbert, Nicholas Kraemer and Lars Ulrich Mortensen) and the Concerto for Four Harpsichords in particular is an absolute joy.
All of Trevor Pinnocks unmissable Handel orchestral recordings with the English Concert on period instruments, collected for the first time in a single release: Classic recordings of Op. 3 and Op. 6; A must-have for anyone remotely interested in Handel.
This package, released on Archiv Laserdisc and VHS in December 1993, was recorded a year earlier at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome in cooperation with a consortium of European television broadcasters. It consists of two distinct but complementary programs, the first under McCreesh followed by another under Pinnock. As the notes point out, the basilica is the perfect site for such a program, since it has claimed to possess the very crib in which the infant lay on the first Christmas. For centuries the papal celebration of the Midnight Mass of Christmas was held “ad praesepe,” at the altar where the crib was venerated. Typically for such concert videos, we see appropriate scenes in the basilica alternating with views of the singers and players.
Written in 1724, just after Giulio Cesare and just before Rodelinda, Tamerlano comes from one of the most fruitful periods of Handel’s career, full of compelling inspiration, yet it has been relatively neglected on disc. This Avie recording was made live at Sadler’s Wells in London in collaboration with the BBC in June 2001, marking a welcome return to disc of Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert. The result is delicate on a smallish scale, less sharply focused than Pinnock’s Archiv recordings, but with unerring judgement on style and pacing.
In their original incarnation on LP, the sound of Trevor Pinnock and his English Consort's 1981 recording of Vivaldi's famous Four Seasons was clear and bright. In subsequent CD iterations, it was clearer and brighter. But in this 2008 Japanese original bit processing issue, it has passed clearest and brightest and gone all the way to transparent and translucent. One can hear each of the 13 string players bows strike their strings and every pluck of Nigel North's theobro or Pinnock's harpsichord. And soloist Simon Standage sounds so vibrant and present that he may as well be in the room standing between the speakers.
What a strange, wondrous work this is! Dealing almost exclusively with emotions–paternal, filial, and romantic love, sacrifice, jealousy, hatred, spite–there is very little “action” per se. But in Handel’s Tamerlano we are smack in the middle of these people’s hearts and it’s more suspenseful and moving than operas with battles, great political themes, wind machines, and exotic dancers. In short, absolute ruler Tamerlano has conquered and taken the Turkish Emperor Bajazet captive. Despite his engagement to Irene, Tamerlano loves Bajazet’s daughter Asteria; Andronicus, his Greek ally, loves her too and Asteria returns Andronicus’ love. Although it appears as if Asteria also has accepted Tamerlano’s love (to the horror of Bajazet, Andronicus, and Irene), in fact she plans to kill him. She and her father are condemned to death when her plot is discovered, but Bajazet commits suicide and in a last minute change of heart, Tamerlano allows Andronicus and Asteria to wed, while he takes Irene as bride.
For those uninitiated into the world of Baroque or harpsichord music, be forewarned: this budget-priced trio of CDs from Archiv is a hefty amount of Bach on the harpsichord. These are reissues of recordings of Bach's greatest keyboard works made in the early '80s by Trevor Pinnock. While you may be able to listen to nearly four straight hours of Bach, some may find it hard to listen to the harpsichord for that long.
This unique harpsichord recital by Trevor Pinnock charts two incredible musical journeys four hundred years apart. Inspired by the travels of Antonio Cabezón, the sixteenth century organist and composer, Pinnock’s programme weaves a path not only through Cabezón’s life but also through his own enviable career. In celebration of his seventieth birthday, Pinnock has chosen a personal selection of works that evoke vivid memories from different stages of his life.
The harpsichord music of Louis Couperin (c.1626-1661) occupies a unique place in the glorious flowering of French keyboard music of the baroque era. His short life story is a touching one, marked by strong family bonds, then by the devastation of war, professional success and recognition, before the tragedy of sudden sickness and an early death. He left an indelible mark on musical history in a span of just ten years.