In this episode, I compare readings of BWV 1015 between Stephano Montanari with Christophe Rousset and Pablo Valetti with Céline Frisch. While Valetti ultimately chooses the fastest tempos, both recordings share a lot of similar affect with the choices made by the performers.
Unique to the Valetti and Frisch recording is the use of a specialty stop on the harpsichord in the 3rd movement. I should clarify, as I used the word “stop” a lot in the podcast — as in a “stop” comes across and lays across the strings. The stop, to be precise, is the mechanism that activates the lowering of material to change the sound of the strings. This mechanism could be a switch or lever near the keys, or in some models, could be activated with a knee lever (so you can continue playing). The word comes from the organ world, where a stop was the big physical knob you would push in or pull out to “stop” the flow of air and therefore direct air away from a set of pipes that produced a particular sound.
If you’re interested in knowing more about how these instruments work, I referred to this article which I found easy to read, and not to mention interesting!
- Score, BWV 1015—Violin Part
- Score, handwritten, BWV 1014-1019
- Valetti and Frisch Recording on Alpha
- Montanari and Rousset Recording on Ambrosie
And, of course, Ottavio Dantone, who now I've mentioned twice, is director of Accademia Bizantina. Montanari has been their leader on violin.