Bull: Doctor Bull’s Good Night: keyboard works

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LABELS: Naïve Astrée
WORKS: Doctor Bull’s Good Night: keyboard works
PERFORMER: Pierre Hantaï (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: E8838 Reissue (1995)
Pierre Hantaï’s recital takes its name from one of the pieces in his reissued programme of keyboard music by John Bull. After Byrd, it is the music of Bull and Giles Farnaby which is most fully represented in that early 17th-century keyboard vade mecum, the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. Hantaï offers a rich cross-section of Bull’s various styles, ranging from the contrapuntal ‘In nomine’ tradition which incorporates a cantus firmus from Taverner’s Gloria tibi Trinitas Mass – there are four such pieces included here – to more up-to-date dances and virtuosic fantasias. Hantaï plays a late 17th-century Italian harpsichord, and it is playing of a high order, clearly articulated, rhythmically taut yet never inflexible, and full of demonstrative gesture, purposeful, elegant and highly communicative. A fine recital. Nicholas Anderson