Froberger: Complete Fantasias and Canzonas

Terence Charlston plays Froberger on clavichord CD cover

Terence Charlston clavichord
62:04
divine art dda 25204

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I had not heard Froberger played on a clavichord before and wondered how it might work, but in the capable hands of Terence Charlston this recording is a resounding success. While one might miss the variety of registrations possible on the organ, letting the player build up the texture in successive sections, the clavichord compensates by allowing for subtle dynamic differences and providing the ability to hear individual voices clearly. Charlston plays on a copy of a South German fretted clavichord from c. 1700, in its putative original configuration, by Andreas Hermert; this is reasonably close to the time of the composition of the music and provides Charlston with what he thinks is the ideal clavichord for the job. The instrument is well recorded, with just a small amount of instrument noise to give it a ‘live’ feel. He concentrates on the fantasias and canzonas from Froberger’s 1649 manuscript, which bridge the gap nicely between the ricercars and canzonas of Frescobaldi and the contrapuntal music of Bach. Both genres are sectional, showing off Froberger’s remarkable ability to create extended pieces out of minimal material, varying the metre while keeping a steady tactus, something Charlston brings out very successfully. He uses subtle ornamentation to keep the sound going, including the vibrato-like Bebung which also changes the pitch slightly. He exploits the unequal semitones of his mean-tone temperament in a number of pieces with chromatic subjects. Sleeve notes are very informative. Charlston’s joy in bringing this music to life shines through and I can strongly recommend this recording.

Noel O’Regan