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Saturday April 19, 2014
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Penelope Crawford

 

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is again scheduled to perform a recital of harpsichord music at the Concert House.

In itself, a recital of harpsichord music by Penelope Crawford is not an especially unusual event. As a longtime Ann Arbor resident and one of the finest harpsichordists in the country, Crawford has been performing in town for decades. And in a town that has always fervently embraced early music, harpsichord recitals are not themselves particularly unusual.

What's exceptional about this concert is the repertoire. The works Crawford had chosen for her recital last year were about as far from the standard repertoire as anyone could get. How else could one describe a program of works by the seventeenth-century Italian composers Bernardo Storace, Michelangelo Rossi, Giovanni de Macque, and Gioan Pietro del Buono? While the two works on the program by the German Georg Böhm are among his best known, how well known is Böhm? And while the music of Johann Sebastian Bach is extremely well known, the Bach piece on the program is a rarely heard transcription.

Most of this music is unfamiliar to local audiences, and, indeed, most of it was unfamiliar to Crawford a year ago. As she said in an interview last year, "It's all new to me, and I'm learning it all from scratch." But that was last year, and even after a year she spent learning other music, the music of Storace, Rossi, de Macque, and del Buono is no doubt deep in Crawford's fingers by now. This does not, of course, make the music any less new to her audience.

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