Terence Charlston: The Harmonious Thuringian

review thuringian x1 congWe so wanted the harmonious thuringian to be a novelty musical instrument: in fact it’s a harpsichord from part of Germany (as it is now) called Thuringia, which David Evans rebuilt. The harpsichord, not Germany.

He was looking for authentic music to play on it, so who better than Baroque composers Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel, born in the same year about 100 miles apart in Thuringia and Saxony?

Harpsichordist Terence Charlston wanted to recreate the sound of locally-built Saxon or Thuringian harpsichords such as those the two composers would have played on: the sleeve notes say it’s likely that Bach and Handel’s first experience was on an instrument of this type rather than more sophisticated versions.

There are nine different types of piece represented on this recording: toccata, prelude, fugue, fantasia, dance, air, variations, chorale, and tombeau (a slow dance written as a musical monument to a deceased person).

Bach and Handel contribute a couple of pieces, the rest is selected from manuscripts associated with players who lived and worked in Thuringia and Saxony at the time: Johann Fischer, Louis Marchand, Johann Philipp Krieger and Christian Ritter among them.

Rather like the Lucia Duchonov album, this creates a mood rather than having outstanding pieces. It’s been part-funded by the Royal College of Music. Very pleasant.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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