A fascinating collection of German harpsichord music from one of the instruments finest exponents, Sophie Yates.
The German composer Johann Jacob Froberger is the central figure in this collection and he was probably the most significant influence in the development of a distinctive, German style of writing for keyboard instruments. He wrote some twenty-five toccatas of which the two on this album are of very different character; the earlier one is very contrapuntal in style and makes use of a chromatic theme, whilst the other is written in a feer, more improvisatory style, and is harmonically very daring. Sophie Yates writes in her sleeve notes that she wished to include some of the darker more sensual suites, of which the C minor Suite is one of the most striking. Froberger is a colourful composer, and these varied suites, consisting of the usual dance numbers of the day, are most enjoyable.
Johann Kaspar Kerll was similarly an innovator and is represented on this album by an impressive Passacaglia which places great demands on the player, Johann Pachelbel is probably most famous as a composer of sacred works and, of course, the ubiquitous Canon in D. Of his instrumental music, the Hexachordum Apollinis is his most well-known work, which comprises a set of six arias with variations, of which the last one is recorded here. George Böhm is best remembered for his influence on other composers, particularly J S BAch. The Suite on this album is a good example of Böhm’s style, which mixes both French and Italian influences. George Muffat’s Passacaglia dates from 1690 and embodies both French and Italian styles, although the freedom and inventiveness with which he treats his material is distinctly Italianate.