As Crawford says, "It's really unusual stuff." Indeed, the harpsichord music of seventeenth-century Italy was written to be unusual. This was the music of the high period of Baroque, a style that prized the outlandish and the outrageous. De Macque's Consonanze Stravaganti is marked by its abrupt juxtapositions and its extreme chromaticism far in advance of other Italian music of the time. Rossi's Toccata no. 7 features scales capering all over the keyboard. Del Buono's Sonata is built on the medieval "Ave Maris Stella" cantus firmus but embellished with enough chromaticism to push the music straight into the late nineteenth century.
Even the tried-and-true portion of Crawford's recital program is in many ways all new. Georg Böhm's Prelude, Fugue, and Postlude in G Minor are as wild and woolly as the weirdest German keyboard work before Bach. And of the two works by Bach on the program, one is the deliriously diabolical Toccata in G Minor, and the other is his transcription of his own Violin Sonata in D Major a piece hard enough to challenge even Crawford.
[Originally published in March, 2005.]
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