Miniaturen

Ricardo Magnus harpsichord
ambitus am 96 958
Agrell, J. Chr. Fr. & J. S. Bach, La Barre, De Bury, Buxtehude, F. & L. Couperin, Dandrieu, Fischer, Graupner, Handel, Kirnberger, Kuhnau, Mattheson, Mozart, Purcell, Rameau, Ritter, Le Roux, Scarlatti & Telemann

On this recording Ricardo Magnus celebrates the miniature with 39 pieces, some lasting barely a minute. Drawing the analogy with miniature paintings, he is keen to showcase what shorter baroque pieces have to offer, providing a broad selection of music by composers from every tradition, ranging from Louis Couperin to Mozart. The elder Couperin is the most heavily featured, with six tracks, including some unmeasured preludes. Many of the other pieces on the recording were also designed as preludes, written in an improvisatory style and setting up an expectation of something more structured to follow, an expectancy which is often frustrated here. On the other hand Magnus and his producers have risen well to the challenge of providing continuity over so many tracks and the result is not at all as fragmented as might be expected. Playing on a Taskin copy by Thomas Schüler, Magnus is respectful of different styles, playing with flexibility and adding appropriate ornamentation. This is a different approach to programme building, but one which works very well in giving listeners a chance to hear some less familiar music in an unusual context.

Noel O’Regan