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William Croft died while attempting a cure at Bath, in 1727: he was only 49. Handel had only recently settled in England, and had Croft lived longer, their relationship would have been most interesting. We can see influences of Croft’s music in that of Handel, whereas his earlier music looks back to Henry Purcell. Both styles are to be heard in this selection, which was the first recording which I made specifically for my own label, Soundboard.
Croft is chiefly remembered for his church music, but the quality of his keyboard music is consistently good, with a defined personal style which is unusually tuneful, direct and attractive. He had the unusual ability of conveying a variety of contrasting moods within the confines of a harpsichord suite.
Suite in G major: Ground; Minuett
Suite in C minor: Prelude; Allemande; Courante; Sarabanda; Ground; Aire; Hornpipe; Minuet
Suite in F: Scotch Tune; Air; Jigg
Suite in A: Ground; Minuett
Suite in D minor: Slow Almand; Corant; Slow Saraband
Trumpet Overture: Entry; Allegro; Adagio; Allegro
Suite in E minor: Almand; Corant; Saraband; Rondo; Gavotte
Suite in G minor: Prelude; Aire; Minuett
Suite in A major: Almand; Corant; Saraband
Scotch Tune (“The Lovesick Jockey”)
The harpsichord is rich and sonorous, matching perfectly the spacious, unhurried but nevertheless detailed interpretations… In fact the whole disc is of superb quality and represents the most persuasive and interesting Croft recording I have heard. An impressive disc by any standards.
Early Music Review
Playing a brass-strung harpsichord built by himself, Colin Booth most persuasively presents the engagingly fresh charm of these suites.
The lovely, rich-sounding harpsichord suits the timbre of Croft’s music, especially in the fine allemandes. These eight suites are well contrasted in mood, key, and length. This is a commendable recording.
Early Music Today