Stylus Fantasticus - Arend Grosfeld
This recent album from Arend Grosfeld, all of four minutes shy of an hour, is a solo recital of music for harpsichord featuring works by Froberger, Kerll, Fischer, CPE, and JS Bach. The recorded sound on this album from Audioguy was the first thing I noticed when auditioning the recording before purchase. The ambiant room noise is captured, but the instrument sounds excellent with what I think is just the right amount of "air" around the instrument (mike distance). It provides a bit of smear to the sound, but for a "wet" sound, it's just about as far as you could go.
Grosfeld is a good interpreter. The first piece I really liked on first listen was the two pieces from the JCF Fischer suite, Uranie. The Passacaglia is the famous piece of the set, and is performed with a rather nice, perpetual tempo that just breathes so easy without ever feeling it's being rushed.
The two fantasias by J.S. Bach are also well-done, namely BWV 917 and 921. With the first, he takes a moderate tempo which affords him the luxury of introducing a number of ornaments. As I've written before about the C-minor piece, 921, it's a very strange bird, and quite striking and modern. Grosfeld's performance is at an equal level to the one I already have in my collection by Andreas Staier.
Stylus Fantasticus is a style of composition that alternates contrasting ideas without any significant break. While this style does fit some of these pieces well, I often first think of violin music epitomizing the genre. The Kerll Passacaglia is a good candidate for the label, however. It's also an excellent piece in which to enjoy Grosfeld's tuning, which is most definitely not in equal temperament.
The longest piece belongs to Bach's son, Carl Philip Emannuel. And it too belongs to the S.F. genre (H. 47). Grosfeld wisely uses different voicings of his instrument to bring out the contrast and dynamics of this piece, that, of course, might also have been performned on a fortepiano.
Grosfeld is a new name to me. And I was especially in like of his selections of the J.S. Bach pair. A welcome addition to my collection.