Bach: French Suites

Julian Perkins clavichord
125:37 (2 CDs in a jewel case)
Resonus RES10163
+Froberger: Partita No. 2 in d, FbWV 602, Telemann: Suite in A, TWV 32:14

Taking his cue from the fact that the clavichord was by far the most common instrument for domestic music making and personal practice in Germany, Julian Perkins’ playing makes a persuasive case for recording the French Suites on the clavichord, following on from Thurston Dart’s historic 1961 recording on that instrument. This is impressive clavichord playing, highly intelligent and nuanced, with singing lines and rhythmic security. Voicing and counterpoint are beautifully controlled and repeated sections are judiciously ornamented. Perkins includes the Preludes to Suites 4 and 6 found in some sources. He also frames the suites with Froberger’s Partita no. 2 in D minor FbWV 602 and Telemann’s Suite in A major TWV 32:14 (long erroneously attributed to Bach as BWV 824), acknowledging and adeptly illustrating those composers’ influence on Bach. Perkins plays on two Peter Bavington clavichords, copies of a diatonically fretted c. 1785 instrument by Bodechtel in Nürnberg and an unfretted 18th-century German instrument, probably by Silbermann. In making this recording Perkins has done an important service to both the clavichord and to J. S. Bach. As a different take on these well-known works it can be highly recommended.

Noel O’Regan