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COMPOSERS: Blow,Böhm,Chambonnieres,De Bury,Duphly,Fischer,Fux,JS Bach,Louis Couperin,Storace
LABELS: Resonus
WORKS: Harpsichord works by Storace, Fischer, Duphly, Chambonnieres, Blow, Böhm, De Bury, JS Bach, Fux and Louis Couperin
PERFORMER: Guillermo Braschetta (harpsichord)


It was a bold choice for Guillermo Brachetta to devote his first solo recording to ten examples of the chaconne, a dance form involving ever more elaborate variations over its recurring bass. Originating in Spanish popular culture, it took 17th-century Europe by storm and made itself indispensable to composers for more than 100 years. There may be dozens of great examples queuing up to be selected, but this recital answers the question of how to avoid ear fatigue when playing ten pieces that share a common modus operandi.

First, the founding harpsichordist of the trio Fantasticus selects his pieces carefully, so that the Italianate ebullience of Bernardo Storace is followed by Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer’s more magisterial example, which in turn yields to the aristocratic chic of Jacques Duphly. And at the heart of the recital is a largely effective transcription of the great Chaconne that crowns Bach’s D minor Violin Partita. Second, there are the two warmly recorded instruments that colour the music so tellingly. But above all, it’s Brachetta’s playing – extrovert but never ‘flashy’ – that is the key. Instinctively idiomatic, he is compelling throughout, whether capturing the whimsy of Duphly, the Olympian purposefulness of Bach, the youthful effervescence of the 15-year-old Bernard de Bury, or the wistfulness of Louis Couperin. An auspicious debut – judging by Fantasticus’s past form, though, that is to be expected.


Paul Riley