Weckmann: Toccata vel praeludium in D minor;Toccata in E minor; Suite in D minor;Partita in A minor; Partita in B minor

COMPOSERS: Weckmann
LABELS: CPO Records
WORKS: Toccata vel praeludium in D minor;Toccata in E minor; Suite in D minor;Partita in A minor; Partita in B minor
PERFORMER: Jan Katzschke (harpsichord/lute harpsichord)

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Weckmann’s music bursts with invention. A protégé of Schütz and of Dresden’s Prince Elector, he cultivated a startling diversity of styles, from the severity of Praetorius to Frescobaldi’s stylus fantasticus and French ‘manners’.

Contrasting textures and registers, harmonic daring and complex counterpoint merge in a musical outpouring that sweeps up the listener. Katzshcke’s strengths match those of the composer.

His lengthy figuration is carefully plotted, his touch definite yet sensitive, his sound muscular. His greatest strength is rhythmic control. Whether punctuating phrases, introducing musical thoughts or tugging against the meter, Katzshke’s instinct for how to pace his delivery, and in particular his silences, make compelling rhetoric.

His performance is aided by the colour of his two instruments, one after a c1700 German model, brilliant but resonant, and the other after a lute harpsichord, soft and haunting.

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The sound engineering captures these contrasts, and the peculiar upper partials of the second instrument. This fresh reading is as compelling as Siebe Henstra’s 1998 performance.