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Bradley Lehman
American Record Guide, March 2017

Keyboard Recital: Vicens, Catalina - BYRD, W. / BULL, J. / GIBBONS, O. (Parthenia) CD-16298
Harpsichord Recital: Rotaru, Alina - BYRD, W. / BULL, J. / GIBBONS. A. (Parthenia) DSL-92208

Rotaru’s tempos are faster in almost every piece in the book, and when she rolls chords, it’s often brusque. She makes the long lines brilliant, and her smoothness of fingering helps to project the music at the level of the big, slower beats. She also tends to play the fastest notes with a basic evenness of time, with an energetic forward drive. Vicens bends things more freely in the beats, making the ornamental details sound more spontaneous. Rotaru’s delivery of the Gibbons ‘Fantazia’ is relentless and hard-edged, while Vicens finds places for gentler phrasing and softened attacks in the same tempo.

Characterizing the bigger picture: Vicens finds a courtly world of the gentle lute, much of the time, while Rotaru plays as if for a public wedding in a big space. Both these approaches sound convincing. I’m glad to have these two contrasting recordings, both very well played and bringing out such different views of the music. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



John Marks
The Tannhauser Gate, July 2016

What a wonderful project and what a wonderful recording! Catalina Vicens is an immensely talented and very hard-working Curtis Institute graduate, originally from Chile.

This is one of the most impressive and engaging keyboard recordings I have heard in years.

…Ms. Vicens has Canned Heat in her fingers. And over and above the thrilling, improvisatory dance movements, there are wonderfully introspective or meditative pavans and preludes. © 2016 The Tannhauser Gate Read complete review




Johan van Veen
MusicWeb International, January 2014

…this disc is a winner in every respect. Catalina Vicens plays brilliantly. She takes mostly rather moderate tempi, and that seems quite appropriate. She articulates well but still manages to keep the flow of the music. Her lucid style of playing results in a great transparency which allows the listener to follow the various lines of the polyphony. Accolades to the recording engineer: the sound is very natural and the miking just right. The use of various instruments of a quite different character is a bonus. Listen to the gorgeous sound of the Italian harpsichord (track 16) or the ‘mother & child’ virginal (track 12). Rebeka Rusò plays well in the two pieces by Gibbons, even though I would have preferred them with harpsichord alone.

All the factors mentioned above justify the labelling of this disc as Recording of the Month. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Scott Noriega
Fanfare, November 2013

The collection makes for a lovely recital as it highlights many of the genres prevalent in the day—improvisational preludes, contrapuntal fantasias, jubilant dances in both duple and triple meters, and ground-bass variations—and also highlights the varied approaches to these different forms: the serious grandeur of Byrd is unmistakable as Byrd, just as the youthful jubilancy of Gibbons is as Gibbons. Throughout the recital Vicens favors an improvisational approach in much of this music, not only where one would expect it—the preludes, for instance—but in the dance music as well. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review



Lindsay Kemp
Gramophone, October 2013

Vicens’s playing is unhurried, even in galliards, but she maintains the music’s spring and momentum through eloquently spread chords and rhythmic inflections; her timing of the tumbling flourishes that climax certain sections brings both controlled and effective releases of tension. And if you sense that her sympathies lie more with the richness and mellowness of Byrd and Gibbons than with the fidgety virtuosity of Bull, her fingers are certainly up to the task of carrying off Bull’s excitable passagework…

The sound of this CD is also a treat… © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone





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