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This fascinating exploration of keyboard works from the 1600s is subdivided into four parts: ‘Intimation and Imitation’, ‘Dance’, ‘Variation’ and ‘Depiction and Evocation’.

There are discoveries in each section: Weckman’s chattering Canzon is a delight in the first, Pienaar’s articulation at speed a joy. The move to dance seems, initially, clear, but dances are not all happy: Tomkins’ A Sad Pavan for these Distracted Times seems all too relevant today.

As to ‘Variations,’ it is Buxtehude’s extended Variations on ‘La Capricciosa’ that emerges as a true masterwork: Pienaar’s virtuosity shines. Finally, ‘Depiction and Evocation,’ Le Roux’s La Favorite supremely enigmatic, its energy prolonged by D’Anglebert’s dolorous Tombeau de M. Charbonnieres. Superb.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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