Yoann Moulin harpsichord & virginal
Let me immediately draw attention to the lovely instruments used for this recording, an Italian style harpsichord (2012) and a virginal made in 2009 after a 1626 Italian original now in the Leipzig instrument museum. They are not elaborate instruments, but this means that their clear voices throw emphasis on to the content of the music. And in the case of Frescobaldi (rather more admired than played, I suspect) this is no bad thing. Most of the programme is drawn from Il primo libro di Toccate, including the substantial (to say the least) Folia, Romanesca and Passacagli variations. In addition, there are two pieces from Ricercari et Canzoni franzese and one toccata from the second book.
The playing is sensitive and thoughtful, giving Frescobaldi his full status as a master – a disc for a quiet and pensive evening rather than a rabble-rouser. The booklet features some rather odd photographs and notes in French and English – a valiant translator’s attempt to convey the essence of the flowery original.