Graupner Harpsichord Partitas

Soly’s championing of Graupner continues with scholarly and musical resourcefulness

Author: 
Nalen Anthoni

Graupner Harpsichord Partitas

  • Partita No 2
  • Partita No 8
  • Aria
  • Partita, Menuet 1
  • Partita, Menuet 2
  • Partita, Gavottes en Rondeaux
  • Partita, Airs en Gavotte (en Rondeaux)
  • Gigue

Geneviève Soly’s belief in Christoph Graupner (1683-1760) hasn’t faded. Here are two more Partitas to add to three offered last year in Volume 1 (10/02); and she fills out the disc with items called Galanteries – two separate pieces and excerpts from two other Partitas. Is she hinting that recording all 40 of them might be too much of a good thing?

The mixture is as before; creative moments vie with some that appear routine. Soly’s musicianship is as before, too. She is scholarly towards the text, introducing changes in registration (detailed in the booklet) and adding embellishments during repeats. Her playing is lucid and technically outstanding but she is variable in her responses, rising effortlessly to the best in the music but flagging in inspiration when weaknesses need to be masked.

The Allemandes of the complete works are examples of resourceful interpretation. She relaxes into the pieces and draws out their expressive potential through fine dynamic variations and a supple line. She lets the music flow. Not so the succeeding Courantes. Graupner’s writing is relatively metrical and Soly is correspondingly unyielding. The phrases are not as graciously contoured. This aspect of her articulation might be exaggerated by the closely miked recording that, though tonally credible, overspreads the instrument. The attractive lute stop for instance, emerges from extreme right but its timbre, ideally suited to the Sarabande of GWV102 and the Air of GWV108, enhances the emotion Soly extracts from these movements.

She does try to get behind the notes – a big point in her favour that also helps her detect the courtliness inherent in the first Menuet of GWV108 or the grandiloquence of the Sarabande in the same work. My earlier judgement still stands: Soly is a very promising musician; experience will help dissipate flaws.

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