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Bradley Lehman
American Record Guide, July 2016

The pieces by Jeffreys and Berkeley are charming and witty neoclassical trifles. © 2016 American Record Guide



Joseph Newsome
Voix des Arts, March 2016

Played by Lewis with precisely the right balance of free-spiritedness and seriousness, Gavin Bryars’s After Handel’s “Vesper” is a work of considerable charm and artistic merit, an affectionate homage that wields the cutting edge of typically British parody. © 2016 Voix des Arts Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2016

Whatever starting point you choose, the history of the harpsichord has to acknowledge the role Wanda Landowska played in rescuing it from the abyss. Only when she had saved it from the musical graveyard did the enthusiasm of a new generation of performers look back to discover the original instruments, some of which still existed—usually in bad or poorly renovated condition—and from their design new instruments were fashioned. The booklet with the present disc makes no mention of her presence, so one must presume that British composers had created their own harpsichord world without French influence. Listening to this disc you could well imagine this was the case, as they chose to create pastiche from the Baroque era, and maybe some Gallic adrenalin would have not gone amiss. Thirteen of Herbert Howells’s Howell’s Clavichord offer some dour pictures of friends and acquaintances, with a few modern harmonies to add a little spice here and there. I take Christopher Lewis’s performances at face value, though the British must have produced some more lively music for him to play in this, though the sadness at the death of Gerald Finzi is reflected in Howells’ beautiful and heartfelt homage, Finzi’s Rest. Lewis’s selection ends in one of the work’s few happy pieces, Walton’s Toye, dedicated to William Walton. Gavin Bryars brings the late 20th century into the release with an attractive interlude based on the Baroque of Handel, and the little known, but highly prolific, John Jeffreys (1927–2010), gives the disc its sparkling jewel in the Four Little English Dances in the Georgian manner. Two harpsichords are used, and as a Playel instrument from the 1930’s is large-scale but also tinkles very beautifully in the upper register in the Berkeley and Jeffrey works, Kevin Fryer’s modern reproduction is based on a Ruckers of 1636, and is heard in the tonally unadventurous Howells. Lovely recorded quality. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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