Ewald Demeyere: Harpsichord Laments of the 17th Century

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Johann Jacob Froberger, Louis Couperin, Thomas Tomkins, William Byrd, Melchior Schildt

Genre:

Instrumental

Label: Challenge Classics

Media Format: Super Audio CD

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: CC72617

CC72617. Ewald Demeyere: Harpsichord Laments of the 17th Century

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Keyboard Works, Book 4 Johann Jacob Froberger Composer
Ewald Demeyere
Suite Louis Couperin Composer
Ewald Demeyere
(A) Sad Pavan for these distracted times Thomas Tomkins Composer
Lachrymæ Pavan Ewald Demeyere
William Byrd Composer
Paduana Lacrymae Melchior Schildt Composer
Keyboard Works, Book 2 Johann Jacob Froberger Composer
Ah! Melancholia, aka ‘black bile’, yet socially fashionable in late-16th- and early-17th-century England. And wonder not why John Dowland isn’t included here. He is – in the guise of transcriptions or variations on his original Lachrymae Pavan by William Byrd and Melchior Schildt. Ewald Demeyere’s performance of Byrd is an absorbing mixture of regular and irregular stresses, of notes equally and unequally played. In comparison, and as reflected through Demeyere’s imagination, Schildt’s plainer outlines suggest a more formal expression of grief. Rather different in complexion is Tomkins’s Sad Pavan. This pupil of Byrd had non-conformist ideas on metre. So no time signature, and bar-lines are asymmetrical. Presumably he wanted an elastic rhythm – and gets it in a singular ‘sound-painting’ of personal distress.

From tears shed to tears perhaps unshed in the stoical rectitude of Froberger’s Fantasia, mainly semibreves, minims and crotchets moving slowly, Demeyere wise in keeping them bare of ornamentation. Or smiles breaking through tears in the Partita where, from the first movement onwards, light and shadow flit through major and minor keys. Maybe so too in Louis Couperin’s Suite from pieces compiled by Demeyere, a largely bright Tombeau de M de Blancrocher included.

The Pavans are played on virginals, the rest on harpsichord. The right decision, but Demeyere hits a bad snag in a closely miked recording that masks the differences in timbre between the instruments. Nevertheless, this is a fascinatingly fine programme, eruditely chosen and fervently portrayed.

Gramophone Print

  • Print Edition

From £67/year

Subscribe

The Gramophone Digital Club

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive
  • Reviews Database
  • Events & Offers

From £90/year

Subscribe

Gramophone Reviews

  • Reviews Database

From £67/year

Subscribe

Gramophone Digital Edition

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive

From £67/year

Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.