Colin Booth harpsichord
121:43 (2 CDs)
Colin Booth is an exceptional musician: he has been making harpsichords for at least 45 years; he has written an
As is right the bulk of the 22 page stiff covered booklet which forms the excellent case for the two CDs is taken up by a well-argued essay on what Wohltemperierte means in the context of the 48, of which volume one was already in circulation amongst pupils and practitioners by 1722 while the second part seems not to have been available till about two decades later. What temperament will retain the sense of differentiation between the keys, which making them tolerably playable? In the end, he settles for Kirnberger III, and certainly the results seem to justify that choice. This is a wonderful example of what a serious booklet can be, and I hope it has wide circulation.
But it is the playing that counts. And I was bowled over. First, the sound. Colin Booth plays on an instrument that he made in 2016. ‘With an extension of the
His fingerwork is elegant, ornaments well-considered and never obtrusive, and the absence of that percussive brittle clatter we so often experience makes the whole experience of listening to two CDs straight through a real pleasure. Listen to how he articulates the subject in the B-flat fugue (2.18) where there is a studied ambivalence in how he shapes the grouping of the semi-quavers, or the final B minor fugue, where the wandering subject introduces us to the continuingly unfolding shifts in the tonality: here each phrase in this monumental construction builds upon what has gone before but you are sure that the performer will guide you home. I have no hesitation in saying that this is the most congenial playing I have heard of this remarkable set of pieces. The next volume is due for release this coming year. You will need to order from ColinBooth direct via his website – easily accessible at www.colinbooth.co.uk, where you will find a Christmas offer of three for the price of two.