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By the very nature of its title, the constant change from cantabile, to improvisatory and contrapuntal writing on this all-Bach CD makes for a varied and interesting programme. Familiar works balance the less well known, while the fine toned, sonorous 1789 unfretted Schiedmayer clavichord provides a new and refreshing listening experience. There is much to appreciate on this disc.

The opening Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E flat major BWV 998 is characterised by three strongly defined, contrasting sections, with well-shaped phrases and good dynamic control, and is sensitively performed, even if the Prelude’s flexibility occasionally loses a sense of direction. Less well-known is the Prelude and Fugue after Albinoni in B minor BWV 923/951. This tour de force, with its extended passage of rippling chords in the dramatic Prelude, compliments a mighty nine-minute Fugue, though here some instability in the pulse is unsettling. Having taken the listener through Fantasies in C and A minor (BWV 918 and 904), Peter Sykes rounds off his recording with the most well-known of all fantasies and fugues, that Chromatic one in D minor BWV 903. The clavichord is particularly effective in the recitative sections where its dynamic capabilities make the most of the music’s rhetoric. The Fugue begins nobly, but it does push forward in a rather anxious manner.

Katharine May Read the full review on Agora Classica


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