Finnish Broadcasting Company

Doctor of music and harpsichordist Assi Karttunen records seldom, but always well. This new CD provides an unusual, but well thought out, combination: François Couperin’s atmospheric ornamentality meets with modern British composer’s Graham Lynch’s timeless and ambiguous music. The experience is poetically light, dense with meanings.

Karttunen has written the new CD’s revealing and beautiful booklet text, which also uncovers the connections between Couperin and Lynch. According to Karttunen the both composers’ music sounds like the harpsichord was thinking by itself– which is beautifully said. In the rhythmical pieces Lynch feels a bit more angular and repetitive compared to Couperin’s smoothness, but at its best Lynch gets the music to resonate fully with meanings and connotations, and the border between the heard and the unheard gets blurred, like Karttunen wishes. The sound of theharpsichord is so clear-cut that it demands special skills to write for harpsichord in an ambiguous manner.

In addition to the musical aesthetic, it is the playing of Assi Karttunen that joins the music together. The playing is well-weighted, free and flexible. It feels like Karttunen operates with time and suspensions instead of notes.

The CD has been recorded from a close distance which on one hand emphasizes the clear-cut articulation of the harpsichord sound, and on the other hand gives its resonance volume, warmth and sounds of the instrument’s mechanisms, which makes the interpretational horizon even broader. As a whole the recording takes shape of an extraordinary and exciting harpsichord CD able to charm music lovers, the period music fans as well as the broad-minded modern music enthusiasts.

—Kare Eskola