Re-inventing the way we feel about the Harpsichord!
Last Sunday 5th July, at the Harwich Festival, Jane Chapman the extraordinarily gifted harpsichordist gave an absolutely stunning recital at St Nicholas Church, which was one of the high points of this great local music festival. Jane performed a wide ranging programme of varying styles throughout the recital, wowing the audience with both traditional harpsichord repertoire and more up to date compositions during her performance. This truly was a breathtaking performance throughout, as every piece was stylishly played, with such a great understanding of the music. It certainly is easy to see why Jane has been called ‘The hippest harpsichordist around’ (London Metro) and ‘The Sorceress of the harpsichord’ (Radio Times). There was plenty of keyboard alchemy going on during the recital, as piece after piece became transformed into ever more beautiful versions of their original parts in Jane’s hands.
The performance began with the delightful ‘Chromatic Fantasy’ in D min (BWV 903) by JS Bach, which was followed by an interesting new composition created for the Harwich Festival by Diana Burrell (former Artistic Director), entitled Gemini. This was one of two World/ UK premieres at the recital, with the second composition Baobab, by Andi Spicer being the slightly more pleasing of the two pieces. Although both pieces stood out and were performed by Jane Chapman to a truly breathtaking standard, Baobab was simply easier to listen to.
Within the programme there were 4 Bach Inventions, (interspaced between other pieces) which were a delight to listen to. Terekkeme a piece created by Michael Finnissy and inspired by the folk music of Azerbaijan showed yet another side of Jane Chapman’s harpsichord repertoire that made for interesting and enjoyable listening.
Throughout the recital everything Jane played showed great poise and style, making for a very stylish and polished performance that was well worth heading to Harwich for. The final piece in an already outstanding programme was Continuum composed by György Ligeti in 1968, which is played in such a way as to create the impression of almost continuous sound. This piece sounded like it could have been a collaboration with the king of synth disco/ electronic dance music Giorgio Moroder in another life, as it had an almost electronic feel about it that was spellbinding to hear Jane play.
Not forgetting the amazing harpsichord Jane Played. As if I could!
After the performance it was great to be able to check out the beautiful instrument Jane played during the recital, which came from Alan Gotto Harpsichords in Norwich.
This harpsichord is based on a Pierre Donzelague design 1711/ 16. The instrument features a double manual keyboard in ebony and boxwood, a fantastic marbled case, a walnut stand and flemish papers to the key well.
The design is completed by an amazing painted lid and a delicately painted soundboard creating an instrument that not only sounds amazing but is a thing of beauty to behold!