The CD contains two variations sets written on popular tunes. The most well know is on the tune â€œMore Palatinoâ€. Other keyboard composers, including Sweelinck had written variations on the same tune, but Buxtehude explores the music in new ways. These variations are truly one of his masterpieces. â€œAria: Rofilisâ€ is smaller in scale, consisting of only 3 variations, but every measure is packed with musical nuance.
Finally 4 of the selections on the CD, (Toccata in G, Canzonettas in d and G, and Praeludium in G) were written for manuals only organ, but are extremely well suited to the harpsichord as well. And it is in these pieces that the â€˜Stylus Fantasticus aspect of Buxtehudeâ€™s music is best illustrated.
For this recording, harpsichordist Nicholas Good, recording engineer Peter Nothnagle, and harpsichord builder Kevin Fryer utilized a deconsecrated Catholic church isolated in the middle of Iowa cornfields far from urban noise and the sounds of railroad, airplanes, and interstates. St. Bridgetâ€™s Church, Morse, Iowa had perfect acoustics for this project. The engineer was able to capture the rich baritone sonorities of the Fryer harpsichord, in a warm natural environment, without having to resort to any kinds of sonic manipulations. Nothnagle, an engineer for many sessions of early music recordings, is able to capture the essence of the complex sounds of a harpsichord in a way that few other engineers are.
The recording utilizes a harpsichord built in 2002 by Kevin Fryer, a noted San Francisco builder. This instrument is based on the Ioannes Ruckers instrument now housed at Musee Dâ€™Unterlinden in Colmar France. Built in 1624, it was rebuilt twice, firstly around 1680 and a second time in France in 1720. The work done by the anonymous rebuilders was conservative in scale. By leaving the case, soundboard, and bridges undisturbed, they preserved much of the original sound design of Ruckers. By repinning the bridges, adding a second 8Â´ choir of strings, and making new keyboards, they gave the instrument just enough musical resources to serve much of the repertoire of the 18th century.
Nicholas Good is a musician based in Topeka, KS. In addition to concerts on the harpsichord and clavichord, he serves as organist at one of the largest Methodist congregations in Kansas, 1st United Methodist Church of Topeka. Nick received his undergraduate degrees in music from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he studied harpsichord with George Hunter, organ with Paul Pettinga and piano with Malcom Bilson, Thomas Baker and Dean Sanders. In recent years he has continued his harpsichord studies with Ed Parmentier at the University of Michigan.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Toccata in G major
2. Suite in C major (230) - Allemande
3. Suite in C major (230) - Courante
4. Suite in C major (230) - Sarabande
5. Suite in C major (230) - Gigue
6. Variations on Aria 'More Palatino'
7. Praeludium in G minor
8. Suite in g minor (242) - Allemande
9. Suite in g minor (242) - Courante
10. Suite in g minor (242) - Sarabande
11. Suite in g minor (242) - Gigue
12. Canzonetta in G major
13. Variations on Aria 'Rofilis'
14. Suite in d minor (233) - Allemande d'Amour
15. Suite in d minor (233) - Courante
16. Suite in d minor (233) - Sarabande d'Amour
17. Suite in d minor (233) - Sarabande II
18. Suite in d minor (233) - Gigue
19. Canzonetta in d minor
20. Suite in F major (238) - Allemande
21. Suite in F major (238) - Courante
22. Suite in F major (238) - Sarabande
23. Suite in F major (238) - Gigue