Tag Archives: Gustav Leonhardt

[150] William Byrd – Harpsichord Music

26 Feb

The harpsichord has such a distinctive sound, the proto-piano, at once ancient and refined.

byrd-william-150-l

The performance here is careful and calculated, every note given its proper time and space and consideration even when the fingers occasionally offer a trill or an allegro run.  Byrd’s compositions highlight the limitations of the instrument, and in doing so uncover a quite charming sound, the delicacy of the individual notes worked together into a solid and indestructible structure.

There is an architectural quality to the music – functional, even workmanlike, but also beautiful.

Here is music which does not disturb my co-workers, which I can play at my desk while I work, which nonetheless does not disappear entirely into the background.  It is such a specific sound, so melody driven yet dominated by the instrument itself, that whenever my ear does catch a moment, it is pleasing and intriguing in equal measure.

While not a sound I would have sought out, nor one I expect to revisit often, Harpsichord Music is a recording which in some ways reminds me again why I began this quite ludicrous undertaking, almost three years ago to the day.

It is an excuse, an opportunity to spend some time with an artist, a genre I would otherwise have passed by, enjoying it in the moment, expanding my palette, growing my experience.

Next Week:  The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man

Owned before blogging? No.  (12 of 150 = 8%)
Heard before blogging? No.  (21 of 150 = 14%)
Recommend? Yes. (125 of 150 = 83%)

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