Recital at the Victoria & Albert Museum
Trevor Pinnock recorded this attractive programme about 16 years ago and its appearance on CD is welcome. Pinnock plays three different instruments in the care of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The earliest of them is an Italian spinet built in the latter half of the sixteenth century and displaying the Tudor royal arms with the personal device of both Anne Boleyn and her daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I. Then there is the Ruckers harpsichord of 1634, customarily kept at Ham House near Richmond in Surrey; and lastly a much later harpsichord built by the English firm of Kirckman in 1776.
Pinnock has compiled a varied anthology of music by English born and English domiciled composers, among them Byrd, Handel and 'the London Bach'. Byrd's The Bells, an impressionistic piece, sounds effectively resonant on the virginals, while the Handel Suite in E major—it includes the ''Harmonious Blacksmith''—and a fine suite by William Croft come over with alluring warmth and a delicately transparent sound on the Ruckers instrument. To round off his recital Pinnock plays sonatas by Arne and J. C. Bach on the Kirckman. A delightful excursion with playing that is lively and full of character.'