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BACH, J.S.: Lute-Harpsichord Music (Farr)

Composer(s):Bach, Johann Sebastian
Artist(s) Farr, Elizabeth, lute-harpsichord
Period(s) Baroque (1600-1750)
Genre Classical Music
Category Instrumental
Catalogue 8.570470-71
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote music for the lute throughout his career. He had in his possession not only a lute but also two lute-harpsichords (Lautenwerke), gut-strung keyboard instruments allowing a fuller range of sound than the normal lute. For the present recording Elizabeth Farr plays a lute-harpsichord reconstructed by Keith Hill from Bach’s own specification for one of his two instruments.

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Review By John Fleming, Times Performing Arts Critic,St. Petersburg Times,September 2008

Why we care: Elizabeth Farr plays the lute-harpsichord, a two-keyboard instrument with a combination of gut and brass strings. It was built for her by Keith Hill.

Why we like it: Bach is always addictive, but this two-CD set has a wonderfully serene effect that provides ideal accompaniment for anything from meditation to being stuck in a traffic jam. It includes suites and other works written for lute-harpsichord as well as transcriptions. The lute-harpsichord sounds like a harpsichord with just a hint of the lute.

Reminds us of: Why Bach's cosmic genius may be best realized in his keyboard works.

Grade: A

Review By Bradley Bambarger,New Jersey Star-Ledger,August 2008

The harpsichord and its repertoire can make for a sensual, intimate avenue of aural escape. That takes not only a sensitive player, but an alluring instrument and the right acoustics.

Even those who think they are allergic to the harpsichord may find themselves beguiled by the tone of the lute-harpsichord. This mysterious Baroque hybrid, strung mostly in gut like a lute rather than in metal like a harpsichord, combined the compass of a keyboard with the warmth of a plucked instrument. A fan of their ravishing sound, Bach owned a couple of lute-harpsichords.


Review By Giv Cornfield,The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics,August 2008

This admirable project encompasses all the works that Bach wrote for the lute: four suites, a sonata and various preludes and fugues, all transcribed for the lute-harpsichord (Lautenwerke). For this monumental undertaking, Ms. Farr – whose superb artistry we've enjoyed on several other Naxos CDs  – plays a powerful-sounding instrument reconstructed by Keith Hill from specifications in Bach's own archive, who owned and played two such instruments. The sound is a bit startling at first, and takes a little while getting used to. The subtleties of the originals for lute are submerged by the onslaught of the lute-harpsichord. For all of Farr's dexterity, I'd recommend taking this music



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