Harpsichord Recital

Gilbert Rowland Recital

St Augustine’s Church, Honor Oak Park, SE23 3LE , Saturday 17 September 2016 at 2.00pm.

img_1885Gilbert Rowland is a distinguished performer of 17th and 18th century music, whose recordings of the complete works of Domenico Scarlatti, Padre Antonio Soler, also Rameau, Fischer and Handel have attracted high praise in the music press.  Recordings of the Twelve Suites by Mattheson will be released in early 2017.

The programme consisted of Rameau’s E minor/major Suite of 1724, Scarlatti’s Sonatas K.476, (G minor), K. 477 (G major), K.287/288 (D major, for organ), K.466 (F minor), K.551 (Bb major), Soler Sonatas R. 69 (F major), R 117 (D minoir), R.64 (G major), played on both harpsichord and organ, Handel Suite in D minor (HWV 448).

The two manual harpsichord was built and is maintained by Andrew Wooderson of Bexley. Andrew tuned the instrument before the concert and during the interval.

Throughout the recital, Gilbert’s deep understanding of 17th and 18th century styles of keyboard music communicated beautifully by his ability to execute the written ornaments exactly and by embellishing aspects of the score where he felt that the music requires it. Each sonata, written in two halves with indicated repeats, showed how the music was enhanced on second playing by such embellishments.  This was underpinned by a solid sense of rhythm and musical direction, and by a well-developed sense of the style and mood of each movement.  Moods ranged from the sophisticated and exquisite, to the commanding and magisterial, as well as playful and cheerful. Gilbert is the musical master of them all. The audience left in joyous mood.

Of particular interest to organists were the pieces heard on both harpsichord and organ. The keyboard compasses, being similar, lend themselves to pieces being performed on both without loss of musicality.  Organ practice before the 20th century would require at least two people; in particular, someone to work the bellows, maybe another to assist with stop pulling, and/or hold a candle if practice was not during hours of daylight, whereas the domestic instrument would be available for convenient and daily use. Both instruments require two manuals to be coupled in order to create a bigger sound, so transfer to the organ from harpsichord and vice versa is an easy step. The St Augustine’s organ, a good example of a Victorian design, is a tracker action instrument, heavy when coupled, but this proved no problem for Gilbert whose repertoire required much finger strength and dexterity. Gilbert used the 2’ stop on the Swell coupled to 8’and 4’ stops on the Great for one piece, rather than the Great 2’, whose sound is more prominent. This repertoire showed the St Augustine’s organ in a different, sparkling light from the hymns that are regularly heard on Sundays.

Marilyn Harper

Programme and notes are here

Hear the recording of four pieces from the program made by Christopher Town.

Note I am having difficulty with getting them to play properly – it might be Ok for you, I shall try and sort this out over the weekend

04 – Gilbert Rowland, harpsichord – Rameau- Suite in E minor-major – Le Rappel des Oiseaux – 2.58 mins  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6XVJlY6KgOENFplTlk0RU02ZzA &export=download


11 – Gilbert Rowland, organ – Scarlatti- Sonata K. 287 in D major (‘Per Organo’) – 2.05 mins

12 – Gilbert Rowland, organ – Scarlatti- Sonata K. 288 in D major (‘Per Organo’) – 2.01 mins

13 – Gilbert Rowland, harpsichord – Scarlatti- Sonata K. 466 in F minor –  7.00 mins

Want to know how a harpsichord works? Here is a YouTube link. https://www.youtube.com/embed/71x4MSlpGUk