The Melodious Talking Fingers
My new CD is a celebration of a notable contemporary of Bach and Handel.
I had previously recorded his harpsichord suites, and more recently discovered how unfairly neglected is this important work, which Mattheson first published in 1735. He was a fascinating character and a wonderful composer, whose music mostly disappeared when his city of Hamburg was bombed in World War II.
The CD and Edition are now both available.
For details about the Edition click here.
Stephen Malinowski has instantly been inspired to produce a video of Fugue Ten. This spectacularly witty triple fugue perfectly captures Mattheson’s playful side:
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE May 2021:
…the performances he gives are first-rate. His account of Bach’s 48, for example, is notable for its
scholarly grounding as well as for its emotional force, while his instrument allows the part-writing to
emerge with unusual clarity.
This Mattheson disc is his 16th recording of solo harpsichord music, and with it he draws back the
curtain on an almost entirely forgotten composer….
The ‘language of the fingers’ in these fugues and dances is in many ways the language of Handel and
Bach, but as a ’modernist’ who also wanted to keep the flagging fugal tradition alive, he ensured that
his counterpoint was not too dense, and that his fugal themes were pleasantly singable.
Some of these pieces are musical jokes, but the final one is a prayerful double fugue on the melody
best known from Bach’s ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring’. Booth regards this gugue (and plays it) as an
expression of Mattheson’s continuing faith in the face of his severe deafness.
Having made this beautiful harpsichord, Colin Booth’s empathy is
unquestionable…moreover, he captures the rhetoric and brings an authentic singing style to
David Ponsford – Choir and Organ
The Mattheson does have equivalencies with (your) Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier - the
instrument sounds every bit as divine, the recording is again beautiful and crystal clear, and
the playing displays stunning technical prowess. But the difference is that the Mattheson
pieces have a wider emotional range. Your recording brings them out to perfection - they
are variously serious, sober, dazzling and, at times, sufficiently witty to make one smile.
From very early in the recording, I get a sense of deep musical security. And it's an
Carolyn Winter for Capriccio
Colin Booth has a strong affinity for this composer. The new release is a companion to his set
of Mattheson’s Harmony’s Monument (SBCD 208), the best I have heard. He offers his
customary clarity and thoughtfulness, both in the performance and in his thorough notes
about the piece.
Bradley Lehman – American Record Guide