sabato 28 febbraio 2015

Johann Sebastian Bach - The Secret of the Semitones

11 tracks | MP3 192 Kbps | RAR 99 Mb

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Players of the modern harp may look with trepidation on anything with 'chromatic' in its title and velocity on the agenda, imagining a need for a third foot - and for all three to be hyperactive. But the baroque double harp which Lawrence-King uses here has no pedals; there are separate strings for every note, but their selection calls for skill and speed, talents he has in abundance. Nor does he lack any other of the attributes needed to approach such a demanding programme. His view of the Chromatic Fantasia is contemplative rather than dramatized, occupying 10'32'' (par for the keyboard course is six or seven minutes) and in his annotation he rightly refers to the harp-like textures in which it abounds. Given its success it is a pity he severed it from its companion Fugue but doubtless he had his own good (perhaps technical) reasons. Technical reasons may also account for the changes of key for BWV997 (C minor to D minor) and BWV1004 (D minor to A minor), which should disturb no one.The convincing flexibility of his phrasing is superimposed on the beat of the metronome that ticks in his head, giving eloquent humanity to the music, and his fingers respond faithfully to dynamic detail such as the differentiation of appoggiaturas from their resolutions. He is adept, too, at embellishing repeats - and not just by adding the odd ornament here and there. The performance of the famous Chaconne is leisurely but majestic (17'36''), with minor but logical additions to the score, though the sudden piano at 8'17'', debatably anticipating the following variation, may raise some eyebrows - as it did mine. If Bach is listening to this recording he probably has an approving smile on his face. Need I say more?


Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903 
Suite for Lute in C minor, BWV 997
 Fantasia in A minor, BWV 944 
Partita for Violin solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1004

Andrew Lawrence-King (Harp)

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