Bach Harpsichord Concertos, solo harpsichord pieces. George Malcolm CD

famous harpsichord pieces

Famous Baroque Music / May 21, 2017

The two harpsichord concertos, BWV 1053 and 1058 both receive excellent performances at the hands - and digital virtuosity - of George Malcolm, one of the great harpsichordists of our time. His elaboration of the slow movewment in BWV 1058 is unobtrusive yet essential, and no other rendition by any other artist will sound quite the same again!

Malcolm's digital virtuosity really shows up in his performance of the brilliant Chromatic Fantasy, BWV 903. This is perhaps Bach's most virtuosic clavier composition, requiring, like the Toccatas only more so, individual interpretation by the player, a challenge to which Malcolm responds perfectly.

Malcolm again brings his meticulously clear playing to the Italian Concerto BWV 971. This solo harpsichord concerto, published by Christoph Weigel Jr, Nuremberg 1735, was enthusiastically reviewed at the time by J.A. Scheibe, who wrote: preeminent among works known through published prints is a clavier concerto of which the author is the famous Bach in Leipzig. Who is there who will not admit at once that this clavier concerto is to be regarded as a perfect model of a well-designed solo concerto? But at the present time we shall be able to name as yet very few or practically no concertos of such excellent qualities and such well-designed execution. It would take as great a master of music as Mr. Bach, who has almost alone taken possession of the clavier.

The 3-harpsichord concerto BWV 1063 is great fun. These same players used to perform works for 2, 3 and 4 harpsichords every year at London's Royal Festival Hall, the harpsichordists bobbing and nodding to one another, the conductor struggling to keep up with them. The instruments used in these concerts, as in the present recording, were all built by Thomas Goff; Malcolm also plays a Goff in the solo pieces.