Basso ostinato: Passacaglias and chaconnes

Floral design

Pieter-Jan Belder
Brilliant Classics 95656

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n the course of this programme, Pieter-Jan Belder plays three modern copies of harpsichords by Giusti, Blanchet and Ruckers respectively, each producing a distinctive sound appropriate for the music he plays on it. We have a stimulating mix of familiar music by J. S. Bach, Purcell, Tomkins, Couperin and Frescobaldi, and unfamiliar works by less than well-known composers such as Giovanni Picchi, Louis Marchand, Antonio Soler, Bernardo Storace and Georg Muffat. There is something very reassuring about a repeating bass pattern, and by the middle of this CD I found myself well and truly in a chaconne groove – on a day which started badly when Morrisons changed its breakfast menu, it is good to know some things can be relied on. The inventive choice of basses, the imaginative variations set above them, and Belder’s expressive and highly rhetorical playing prevented any boredom setting in, and had ennui threatened, the inclusion of Soler’s flamboyant D minor Fandango would have headed it off at the pass. Technically assured and musically intelligent, Belder makes a reliable and authoritative guide through this interesting Baroque repertoire.

Brian Clark

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