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