The Harmonious Thuringian: Music from the early years of Bach and Handel | Divine Art DDA25122

The Harmonious Thuringian: Music from the early years of Bach and Handel


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Label: Divine Art

Cat No: DDA25122

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 29th September 2014



The two most important composers of the Baroque period, Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel, were born in the same year about 100 miles apart in adjacent regions of present day Central Germany: Thuringia and Saxony. Their musical education overlapped in many ways and while they are not known to have met, they shared a common tradition of keyboard playing and teaching. This recording project was inspired by David Evans’ reconstruction of an anonymous Thuringian harpsichord dating from c.1715 and a desire to find repertoire appropriate to it.

The repertoire for this recording has been carefully selected from manuscripts and printed books associated with players who lived and worked in Thuringia and Saxony. Such sources preserve the early musical ‘diet’ of Central German musicians, including Bach and Handel.

The sources directly connected with Bach are a manuscript in the hand of his pupil Heinrich Nikolaus Gerber and two in the hand of his elder brother, Johann Christoph Bach. The latter two books (the so-called Andreas Bach Book and its companion volume, the Möller Manuscript) contain music by other composers which may well have been heard, played and even copied by the young J S Bach.

Some of the music on this disc would perhaps have been known by both Bach and Handel. The chorale ‘Nun komm der Heiden Heiland’ by Handel’s teacher in Halle, Zachow, for example, is preserved in a manuscript from the Bach circle and copied by Bach’s friend and cousin, J G Walther. The pieces from the Mylau Tablature Book represent older music still in general circulation amongst organists in the later seventeenth century. The more modern suites by Bach’s Leipzig predecessor, Johann Kuhnau, published in 1689, on the other hand, heralded a new era for German keyboard playing.

Terence Charlston enjoys a varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, director, teacher and academic researcher. Born in Blackpool, Lancashire, he was drawn to the sound and repertoire of old instruments, especially the harpsichord, from an early age. He studied organ and harpsichord in Oxford and London where he took degrees in Music. Since then he has toured worldwide as a harpsichord and organ soloist and can be heard on over 100 commercial CDs playing all manner of historical keyboards including virginals, clavichord and fortepiano.

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