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Most Frescobaldi CDs offer programmes of differing genres from across the range of original publications, but this production is devoted to Book 1 of the toccatas as published in 1637, containing the balletti, ciacconi, passacagli, correnti, partite on the Romanesca, Ruggiero, Monicha and Follia in addition to the twelve toccatas. Frescobaldi’s preface is one of the most important performance practice documents. Alessandrini quotes the original and deconstructs each of Frescobaldi’s sentences – a valuable essay written by a careful scholar and a fine interpreter of the music.

The chosen organ and harpsichord are wonderful original instruments that are ideal for the purpose, tuned in meantone temperament at pitches that suit their present state (organ: A445; harpsichord: A415). Choice of either instrument for each piece is, of course, subjective, but Alessandrini’s designation is entirely sensible and convincing, with added idiomatic organ pedal notes in some toccatas suiting the style very well. Alessandrini’s playing is grounded in careful scholarship, and totally convincing in his musically imaginative, stylistic and idiomatic interpretations on both instruments. This is a valuable and significant recording of a composer that had tremendous influence on keyboard composition in France (Louis Couperin via Froberger) and Germany (Weckmann and Buxtehude).

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica


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