Basso Ostinato

Basso Ostinato
Passacaglias & Chaconnes
Pieter-Jan Belder, harpsichord
Brilliant Classics,  95656. 77’58

Basso Ostinato - Pieter-Jan Belder

This is a collection of pieces recorded on the margins of other recording sessions from 2012 to 2017. Three harpsichord are used, all modern, after Giusti, Blanchet and Ruckers. All the pieces use an ostinato, or ground, bass. The Passacaglia comes from the Spanish phrase for walking down the street: passer la called. The Chaconne (or Ciaccona) originated in the New World, and was described by Alex Ross as having been a “sexily swirling dance”. Other forms are the English term Ground, used by Tomkins and Purcell, the Passamezzo, used in Picchi’s Pass’e Mezzo, an Italian folk dance based on two different chordal progressions. Continue reading

CPE Bach: Complete works for keyboard & violin

CPE Bach: Complete works for keyboard & violin
Duo Belder Kimura
Resonus RES10192. 2CDs 69’32+62.51

This CD includes all of CPE Bach’s pieces for violin and keyboard, with seven Sonatas, a Fantasia, Sinfonia and Ariosa with variations (Wq. 71-80). For the first few seconds of listening to this recording, I wondered if it was playing at the correct speed, so sparkily light and delicate was the brisk opening with its precisely articulated rapid-fire trills from both violin and harpsichord. But this was the musical language of the young CPE Bach heard in the opening of his Sonata in C Wq.73, one of a group of three Sonatas composed in 1731 when Bach was just 17 and a student at the Leipzig Thomasschule. He later revised them 15 years later in Berlin, and it is not clear to what extent we are hearing the young or more mature Bach. But the combination of his father’s influence and the move away from the style of ‘Old Bach’ that was to dominate CPE Bach’s compositional style is clear. The second group of Sonatas date from 1763 (Wq. 75-78), with the harpsichord taking on a stronger role. The final two pieces (the Arioso and Fantasia) date from the 1780s, and the keyboard (a fortepiano after Walter, 1795) dominates the texture. The other pieces use a harpsichord after Blanchet (1730); the violin an original from the Gagliano school (c1730).  Continue reading