Z. 660-663, 666-669
The Polish harpsichordist Ewa Rzetecka-Niewiadomska joins a growing list of players to have recorded the whole of Purcell’s posthumously-published eight suites for harpsichord. She takes a particular interest in English music and has clearly made a detailed study of these suites, showing an ability to characterise both the very short movements and the more extended ones. Her tempi are on the relaxed side, especially in the Almands which, as the most substantial movements, carry most of the musical weight. She brings considerable swing to the Corants and is playful in the Hornpipes. Her readings of the other movements, too, bring out the variety of Purcell’s forms and ideas. She plays on a Taskin copy by Bruce Kennedy which has a bright sound – perhaps too bright at times, but providing good clarity on this recording and allowing for contrast in registration. There is some very idiomatic ornamentation on repeats of sections. I particularly enjoyed her playing of the Second Suite in G minor, the most substantial of the set. Purcell’s Suites were probably intended more for teaching purposes than for public performance, and some movements can seem rather slight and undeveloped in the form in which they were published; this recording certainly makes the most of them and presents them in a most convincing light.
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