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Smith & Handel – Works for Harpsichord – Julian Perkins (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Smith & Handel – Works for Harpsichord – Julian Perkins (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 01:17:41 minutes | 1,58 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: | © Chandos Records
Recorded: Great Hall, Forde Abbey, Dorset; 7 – 9 December 2011

The internationally acclaimed harpsichordist and early classical music specialist Julian Perkins here presents the premiere recording of six Suites for harpsichord by Handel’s assistant, John Christopher Smith. The new release on Chaconne also features an arrangement by Handel of the overture to his opera Riccardo Primo.
Music assistants often have a poor press. Franz Süssmayr is known only for his controversial completion of Mozart’s Requiem, while Robert Craft is known largely for his role as Stravinsky’s assistant. As Handel’s amanuensis, John Christopher Smith has suffered a similar fate. Moreover, confusion has prevailed as to his identity. His father shared the same Christian names and was Handel’s original amanuensis. Thus the omens for Smith’s musical legacy were poor from the start. This project seeks to reappraise Smith the composer, whose prolific music bubbles over with brilliance, wit, and charm – not to mention an irresistible penchant for trills!
As a man of the theatre, Smith cultivated a style that evinces a comic interplay between the baroque and rococo; in his pieces, athletic hand crossings, unpredictable figurations, sudden shifts from major to minor keys, and sequences built over repeated left-hand chords vie with one another to create music that is both technically demanding and theatrical.

“… His [Smith’s] music occupies a strange sort of halfway territory between the late Baroque style and the progressive early Classical mould, and Julian Perkins captures the dichotomy of mid-18th-century England’s Scarlattian obsession and the emerging rococo style in his judicious playing of Smith’s Six Suites of Lessons for the Harpsichord, Op 3 … These playful lessons amply repay Perkins curiosity.” –David Vickers, Gramophone

“…Julian Perkins deserves praise for his initiative in bringing this music to our attention and so do those who have supported him financially and otherwise. Productions like this make much sense as they broaden our musical horizon and fill in the blank spots on the musical map. Many music-lovers will have heard the name John Christopher Smith but never any of his music. Rather than going by what is written by scholars they should listen for themselves in order to assess the quality of Smith’s music. I have greatly enjoyed these suites. Yes, the influence of others is indisputable but they don’t result in epigonism. Smith’s suites have a character of their own. Perkins is a fine interpreter who brings out the qualities of these suites with great eloquence. He uses two beautiful harpsichords, copies of a French and an English instrument respectively. I found the English instrument especially interesting as this is a type of harpsichord one doesn’t hear that often.” –Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Overture to ‘Riccardo Primo, re d’Inghilterra’, HWV 456(5) in D major (Arranged by the composer)
1 [Largo] – Allegro 3:48
John Christopher Smith (1712-1795)
premiere recording
Six Suites of Lessons for the Harpsichord, Op. 3 (London, 1755)
Suite No. 1 in A major
2 Allegro 5:19
3 Larghetto 5:18
4 Vivace 3:24
Suite No. 2 in C minor
5 Andante allegro 5:52
6 Allegro 3:22
7 Allegro 3:19
Suite No. 3 in F major
8 Andante allegro 4:55
9 Allemande 2:50
10 Allegro 3:09
Suite No. 4 in B flat major
11 Andante 4:55
12 Allegro 2:05
13 Tempo di Gavotte 2:06
Suite No. 5 in G Major
14 Vivace 2:32
15 Allegro 3:40
16 Allegro 2:58
17 Minuetto and five variations 4:47
Suite No. 6 in D major
18 Cappricio [sic] 2:39
19 Allegro 3:04
20 Andante gustoso 3:11
21 Gigue 3:55

Julian Perkins, harpsichord


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