Reincken: Toccatas, Partitas & Suites

Clément Geoffroy harpsichord
L’Encelade ECL1705

Despite his artistic and financial successes, the Dutch-born but Hamburg-based Reincken has left very little music behind – something which, on the strength of this recording, is a great shame. In order to fill up his programme, Clément Geoffroy has included a number of unauthenticated works as well as the few whose attribution is secure. Among the latter, two particularly fine extended sets of variations stick out, those on Die Meierin (the same tune as Froberger’s Mayerin) and on the Balletto. Both are highly inventive and show what Reincken’s improvised performances must have been like. There is also a C major suite which shows strong Italo-German traits. A second suite in A minor, taken from an anthology by Roger, sounds quite different – much more French – and is probably not by Reincken (Geoffroy suggests Pachelbel). Two unauthenticated toccatas are also rather fine: one uses the stylus fantasticus while the other is more Frescobaldi-like. With such a small corpus, it is difficult to establish Reincken’s style, but all of the music on this CD is worth listening to, and it is a good representation of Northern European keyboard styles around the turn of the 18th century. Geoffroy’s playing is exemplary, as is the recording quality. He plays on a Ruckers copy by Emile Jobin which provides the right mixture of resonance and clarity for Reincken’s music. The tuning is a bit sour in the opening track (the stylus fantasticus toccata) but otherwise it works very well. This is an attractive compilation with some real exuberance and virtuosity in the playing and is highly welcome.

Noel O’Regan

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