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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: PLEASE READ ENTIRE DESCRIPTION. This is a used CD. It is rated as good. The original case is included along with the documents and artwork. The case may be cracked or worn. There may be minor scratches on the CD, but they have been tested and play fine. All CD's have been donated to us and are being sold to raise money for library improvements and literacy programs around Richmond, VA.
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20th Century Baroque

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 24, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Rembrandt Chamber Players perform 20th-century works for Baroque ensemble and harpsichord on their debut recording with Cedille Records. They perform four exemplary works from different genres of the modern harpsichord repertoire, including two by living American composers. Minnesota-based Dominick Argento's "Six Elizabethan Songs" are sophisticated and varied setting of 17th-century English texts (reprinted in the program notes). "In the pantheon of American composers Argento occupies a distinct individual category, outside any certifiable modernistic trend or technical idiom," writes Nicolas Slonimsky in Baker's Biographical Dictionary (1992). "He writes melodious music in a harmonious treatment . . . Audiences, and an increasing number of sophisticated critics, profess their admiration for his unusual songfulness." Elliott Carter's adventurous Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello, and Harpsichord, with its delicate dissonances, explores new harpsichord tone colors. As noted in The New Oxford Companion to Music (1983), "the [harpsichord's] expressive peculiarities fit the views of some of those who desire to avoid artificial inflection and who seek the level surface, so to speak, of its limited dynamic range." Czech pianist and composer Ilja Hurnik's music is "marked with impressionistic flavor, while retaining a classical format" (Baker's, 1992). His Sonata da camera recalls the period that spawned the instrumentation assembled for this recording. Manuel de Falla's Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, and Cello, a seminal work commissioned by Polish harpsichord virtuoso Wanda Landowska, is one of the most important contributions to the harpsichord's revival. Spanish-music authority Gilbert Chase considers it Falla's masterpiece and the most complete embodiment of the "eternal essence" of Spain. "The keyboard style ... reveals in the classical lucidity of its writing a certain kinship with Domenico Scarlatti" (Baker's, 1992). The Rembrandt ensemble has performed all the works in concert except the Falla: they fell that the concerto's dense textures obscure the harpsichord in live performance, whereas a more even balance is achievable in the recording studio.

Review

A wonderful recording of modern works for harpsichord. Each member . . . plays with conviction and flair. -- American Record Guide
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Product Details

  • Performer: Manuel de Falla, Elliott Carter, Ilja Hurnik, Dominick Argento, Larry Combs, et al.
  • Orchestra: Barbara Haffner
  • Audio CD (August 24, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cedille Records
  • ASIN: B0000018Z1
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,838 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By J. R. Lewis on November 15, 2012
Format: Audio CD
This is a collection of interesting but rarely recorded modern chamber works featuring the harpsichord. I acquired it mainly for the Carter and Falla pieces, with which I'm familiar. The performances of this unusual repertoire are quite good, but they are sabotaged by poor sound. The harpsichord is uniformly under-recorded, so it's almost drowned out whenever the other instruments play. Still worse is the brutally harsh sound of the flute (and occasionally clarinet) in its' upper register, rendering listening quite painful. I've played it on several high-end stereo systems and the sound is still bad. The recording should be remastered or withdrawn from the catalogue.
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This is a very clear sounding recording. I attribute that to the players. Harpsichord is not the easiest instrument to listen to, even live, as it is very 'busy' sounding in character. So, along with the beautiful music, the players really made this recording worth listening to.
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