I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Image of Melancholly

Harpsichord recital by Jean-Luc Ho

Back in the late 1980s when I became aware of my affinity for baroque music, the most well-known harpsichordists were Trevor Pinnock and Christopher Hogwood thanks to how records were distributed here in the US. Pinnock likely made more solo recordings, and DG Archiv was also pushing to our ears Canadian Kenneth Gilbert. Likely more famous and active was Gustav Leonhardt, and today, there are a lot of practicing harpsichordists! It takes some work to find recordings by some of the younger stock in this field, but I recently came across the series of Bach recitals from the Cité de la Musique in Paris, and a lot of familiar faces came across the stage (among them Hantaï, Rannou, Alessandrini, etc.) and a new name to me: Jean-Luc Ho. Ho also appears on the Albinoni CD I recently reviewed, so I sought out any recordings by him with solo harpsichord.

This recital of Pièces de clavecin entitled "Image of Melancholly" - arrangements in some cases of organ works - spoke to me, in part, because it included Bach's Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland. Ho has put together an interesting collage of pieces using a nice instrument, that is fairly well captured in the recording (there are times that the richness of timbre and the reverb rubs-out absolute clarity) of 13 tracks. You can enjoy a preview of the recording here. His choice in tuning, too, is with quite unequal temperament, giving us a quite special flavor as the pieces move off their home key.

Ho appears in the video saying he chose a collection of lesser-known pieces from the 17th- and 18th centuries.

The collection - while truly of pieces mostly new to me - has some quality gems, and I really like Ho's approach to performance. Composers represented include Muffat, Battiferri, Fabricius, d'Anglebert, Ritter, de Grigny, L. Rossi, and Anthony Holborne, and of course, J.S. Bach.

A melancholy collection of pieces might not make for a great seller, and I will say that listening to the entire album at once requires you to be in a certain mood. But you're likely like me to program certain pieces as part of a program.

And while his rendition of Bach's chorale is great, my favorite track is the Passagagli track that is also featured in the video linked before.

Learn more at NoMadMusic about this strong solo recital.

Pandolfi: Sonate a Violino solo, opera terza

J.S. Bach Foundation