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This recording offers, perhaps for the first time, a selection of Frescobaldi’s keyboard music played as if in a typical music room of his time, with the player moving from harpsichord to small organ as the music suggests itself more suitable for one than the other.
The organ used is a small, two-stop instrument by Robin Jennings and the harpsichord is a copy of an anonymous Italian instrument, thought to date from around 1600, or perhaps rather later, and now in the collection of the Germanisches Museum, Nuremberg. It is rare among Italian instruments in having two keyboards: the lower keyboard has the 8’ strings and the upper keyboard has the 4’ strings - making for some fascinating sonorities.
Toccata 1 (Book I)
Capriccio on La Bassa Fiammenga
Toccata 8 (Book I)
Capriccio on L’Aria Or chè noi rimena
Toccata 5 (Book II)
Partite (Variations) on L’Aria della Romanesca
Toccata 11 (Book I)
Variations on L’Aria detto Balletto
Toccata 7 (Book II)
Capriccio on La, Sol, Fa, Mi, Re, Ut
I’m a fan of the way this CD is put together - the pieces are grouped in pairs or threes, always beginning with a Toccata and ending with a Canzona or other contrapuntal movement. It’s an approach which works… Overall then, a super disc - intelligent interpretations, organological interest, and great music.
Early Music Review, February 2002
Booth builds fine harpsichords, here a rare Italian copy, with exceptionally diverse colours, exhaustively revealed in some striking variations. Meantone tuning creates spine-chilling passing dissonance, delicious sonority in repose. Scholarly approaches to fingering, pitch, and tempo are enriched by expressive playing. Warmly recommended.
BBC Music Magazine, January 2002