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Thread: Early Music (Byrd, Couperin,Frescobaldi) on Piano

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    Default Early Music (Byrd, Couperin,Frescobaldi) on Piano

    I have been long admiring the English virginalists (Byrd, Gibbons, Bull) and the French harpsichordists (Couperin, Rameau, Daquin etc). I recently acquired Glenn Gould superb recording of Byrd and Gibbons, which proved that these early music for keyboard can sound more than right on the modern piano if done correctly.

    For example:

    Just have two questions:

    1) Was playing early music on the modern piano a sort of fashion in the late 19th/beginning of 20th century? In the book Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire, Maurice Hinson lists some typical programs of Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894) and Ossip Gabrilowitsch (1878 - 1936). Byrd, Bull, Couperin and Rameau did appear significantly on their programs!

    2) Would you recommend any good recordings of early keyboard music play on the modern piano (The mentioned Gould's is one, Tharaud playing Rameau is also good)
    Last edited by silentio; Dec-27-2016 at 07:26.

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    Great question about early music in turn-of-the-century piano recitals...I don't know the answer, but hopefully someone else can chime in with some information!

    As for your second question, I highly recommend Angela Hewitt's piano recordings of Couperin and Rameau.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentio View Post

    2) Would you recommend any good recordings of early keyboard music play on the modern piano (The mentioned Gould's is one, Tharaud playing Rameau is also good)
    The major pianist by quantity in this area is Claudio Colombo, he has, for example, recorded a large number of Froberger partitas on a piano, but I've only explored his music making casually at best (I don't like the sound of his piano much.) If you find anything exceptional let me know.

    I think you should hear Daniel Ben Pienaar's Gibbons.

    Joanna Leach's Scarlatti is also good, check whether you like the instrument first.

    Alan Feinberg's John Bull seems to me to neuter the music, to smooth it out, make it too anodyne. You lose too much for me. This is a very common problem with people who play modern piano, because they come from a background of galant and romantic music and can't stop themselves adopting a style which IMO does no favours to music from the 16th century. I'd say first half of th 17th century too - for Bach and Scarlatti for example.

    The other pianist who is working in this area is Francesco Tristano Schlime, he's recorded some Frescobaldi and some Buxtehude, but I'm afraid I can't really recommend what he does.

    There's a lot of Handel, Rameau and François Couperin on piano, but I'll leave it someone else to make a recommendation, just because I'm not so keen on the music really, so I'm not a good judge. The one thing I will say is that I very much enjoyed what Gyorgi Cziffra recorded of French high baroque in Vol 4 of EMI's Cziffra Edition.

    There are some unpublished concert recitals by Grigory Sokolov with Froberger, Byrd and Rameau, sometimes very good indeed. You'll find them knocking around on the internet somewhere I expect.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Dec-27-2016 at 11:58.

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    The Byrd, Gibbons album is one of my favorites GG albums.
    I recommend highly Marcelle Meyer's recordings, her Rameau set, for example, is absoultely outstanding. There's a recent remastered version that sounds very good out there.
    Last edited by Heliogabo; Dec-27-2016 at 14:40.

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