Archive for harpsichord

12 Harpsichord Suites of Johann Froberger

Veteran English harpsichordist Gilbert Rowland returns to the studio in July 2018 to record 12 of the Harpsichord Suites of Johann Froberger for Athene Records, the early-music imprint of Divine Art. This follows Rowland’s survey on 6 CDs of the suites by Handel and his recent 3-CD box of the suites by Johann Mattheson which has become one of the label’s best sellers of 2017 and received international critical praise.

Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-1667) was a highly accomplished composer of the middle baroque and is usually credited with inventing the ‘baroque suite’ used with variations by Bach, Handel and countless other composers; certainly it was his idea to set the ‘backbone’ of the Suite as the four dance movements of allemande, courante, sarabande and gigue. He was extremely prolific and Stephen Sutton, CEO at Divine Art, is hopeful that this will be the first of a series eventually containing all of Froberger’s harpsichord music – this may be a challenge as considerable numbers of works have been recently discovered so the ‘complete’ works may not be established for some time! This first volume will be released late 2018/early 2019 but the exact date has not been yet finalized.

New recording of music by Naji Hakim

Among a full schedule for 2018 is a new recording of works by Naji Hakim centering on organ and harpsichord. The main soloist is Simon Leach, joined for two works by violinists Benedict Holland, and for one each by recorder player John Turner and tenor Ranald McCusker, the latter singing a plainsong introduction to the program.

Simon Leach’s connection with the composer goes back to 1992, when Leach was awarded a bursary, while a student at the RNCM, to study with Hakim in Paris. He has developed his career to a high level and has performed with the Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Northern Sinfonia, and other top orchestras; he is a regular performer on the BBC Daily Service and since 2001 has been organist at Holy Name Church in Manchester which has a long and celebrated musical tradition.

In addition to being the recipient of many international awards throughout his career, including one from Pope Benediktus XVI, Hakim has held extended positions as organist at both the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, Paris and at the l’église de la Trinité, in succession to Olivier Messiaen. He is now professor of musical analysis at the Conservatoire National de Région de Boulogne-Billancourt, and visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

The new album, working title ‘Embrace of Fire’, is to be recorded on March 5-7, 2018 at Holy Name Church, Manchester, England with engineer/producer Richard Scott and will be released in CD and digital formats later in 2018 (MSV 28583).