There are not so many recordings available that feature Square Pianos where we have details of the piano itself, as well as the performer. A couple of Friends who have recorded CDs recently have been kind enough to send me copies, and I am delighted on this page to give details of them.
If any Friends would like their recordings to appear on this page, please send a copy so that I can listen to it, and do not forget to say how copies may be purchased.
This website is primarily about Square Pianos, but I am happy to include spinets, clavichords, or other early keyboard instruments.
Christmas Music for Clavichord
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A Little Quiet Music
Sometimes I think that a transcription sounds happier on its guest instrument than on the original, and I feel this for one of the pieces on this new clavichord recording by Adrian Lenthall. The chaconne from the solo violin partita BWV 1004 by J S Bach is well-known, but I was enchanted by this version, beautifully played on a Peter Bavington clavichord. The partita was written at a sad time for Bach, shortly after he arrived home from a journey to receive the shocking news that his first wife Maria Barbara was dead and buried. The other pieces on this fine recording are in similar contemplative mood, many of them written following personal loss. The clavichord is the perfect instrument for this music, with its quietly expressive voice, the ability to fade away to nothing, and to give meaning to the silence.
The sleeve-notes are excellent, and added very much to my understanding and enjoyment of the music. The technical quality of the recording is also excellent, and Adrian very wisely reminds us to set the volume of our players to normal or preferably below. We should seek a quiet environment to slow down, and listen to the music with the attention it deserves - something many of us do not do often enough.
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Discovering the Piano - Cristofori Style
OK, so this is not a square piano, but as I said, I make the rules, and this is a recording that every early piano enthusiast should have. It features spirited playing by Linda Nicholson on a beautiful replica of a 1730 Cristofori-Ferrini piano made by Denzil Wraight. None of the few surviving Cristofori pianos is in a condition to give us any idea of how they sounded originally, so rather than copy an original, Denzil has based his instrument on all known sources of information. The result is a truly delightful and expressive sound, very far removed from what I was expecting. Comparison with Zumpe's diminutive squares is hardly fair, so let's just say that this is a lovely sound, which we all should enjoy. The recording is Passacaille 1024, which deservedly received the Diapason d'or award in 2017
Denzil has very kindly provided a download of the English part of the CD booklet.
New CD Release - Giovanni Matielli
New CD Release - Jacob Kirkman
This is the first recording I know of to feature one particular spinet, so thank you to Peter and Mary Berg for sending it to me. Their Haxby spinet (c.1760) is an early instrument by the famous York maker, who went on to make very fine square pianos. On this CD, Timothy Roberts plays a selection of pieces by Thomas Arne, one of the most popular composers of the day.
Although all English spinets look more-or-less the same, it is surprising how much their sound and character can vary. This instrument is bright and chirpy, reminding me of the big harpsichords of the time.
This fine CD is available through the website www.orchardstreetmusic.uk/recordings
Our Friend Marina Rodriguez Bria has recently recorded a splendid new CD of Clementi's music played on an 1824 piano carrying his name.
The CD is number UMCCD001, and it is now available via this link.
Fine music, beautifully played on a beautiful piano - what more could we ask for? For Finchcocks this year, Marina very kindly sent copies which we gave to Christopher Clementi, and to Martyna Kazmierczak, winner of this year's prestigious Clementi Award.
I have a copy, I enjoy listening to it, and I can strongly recommend it.
The 1831 Geib piano used for this recording was the subject of an amazing restoration by Tom Strange. On this CD, Patrick Hawkins plays music by Haydn, and also by Maria Hester Reynolds, who was born in 1760. She married Thomas Park in 1790, and supplemented the family income by composing and publishing a number of pieces, and also by giving lessons. Amongst those she taught were the Duchess of Devonshire and her daughters. She died in 1811. Maria's music is charming,and well worth listening to.