dda 25134 "A highly recommended landmark recording."
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Not one example of an original French clavichord survives. The instrument played on this historically important recording is a new construction following the specifications published by Marin Mersenne in the 17th century. It's therefore the only example of how early French keyboard music may have actually sounded to the first audiences. A range of works from the 16th and 17th centuries are presented, all French except the well known Toccata by Sweelinck, whose music was prevalent around France at the time.

Also by Terence Charlston is 'The Harmonious Thuringian' DDA 25122


AUDIO SAMPLE: Bergamasca & Gavotte (anon.)

dealer release date: November 17, 2015





CD program:
Antoine de Févin:
Sancta Trinitas
Prélude sur chacun ton
Four Preludes
La Bounette
Longtemps y a que je vis en espoire
Pierre Blondeau:
La Magdalena
Medleys, arr. Charlston:
Prelude-Fantasie-Hors Envyeux
Canaries-Borree-Volte appellee la Marcielleze-Pavane de Aranda-fantasie sur l'air de ma Bergerer
Bergamasca-Gavotte-Courante La Chabotte-Hereux sejour de Partenisse - Bransle Les Frondeurs
Antoine Gardane:
Gamba Gagliarda-Moneghina Gagliarda
Pierre Megnier / Jacques Cellier:
Prelude and Pavane
Charles Racquet:
Pierre de la Barre:
Tu crois, ô beau Soleil
Mercure d'Orléans:
Praeludium & Volte
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck:
Toccata in C
Gérard Scronx:
Echo in F
Jean Henry d'Anglebert:
Prelude in D minor
Jacques Champion:
Sarabande in A minor
Louis Couperin:
Nicolas Gigault:
Recit à trois
Nicolas Lebègue:
Laissez paistre vos Bestes

review extracts: for full reviews click here
“Clavichords are notoriously difficult to play well. Terence Charlston's performance is miraculous, with everything perfectly in place; yet it does not sound cautious. This is top-level work. The result is one of the best clavichord albums I have ever heard. The sound, historical essays, photography, and the booklet production are deluxe in every way. There is nothing more to say... buy this.” - Bradley Lehman (American Record Guide)

“This is a very important disc, one which deserves to be taken very seriously. The performances are beyond criticism, as is the clear and natural recording quality.” – Emily Allison (Musical Opinion)

“This CD by Terence Charlston is more than just a recording: it reflects a research project in a field which has been to date largely neglected. The sound of the clavichord is impressive. This is clavichord playing as it should be. A highly recommended landmark recording.” - Paul Simmonds (British Clavichord Society)

“Charlston's playing throughout is sensitive to the music as well as to the instrument, drawing maximum expressive power from each on every track. The sound of Bavington's instrument is lute-like, with marked differences in the various registers, the whole blending into a color spectrum that provides great clarity and definition to the music presented on this recording. The recorded sound is clear and lifelike – indeed, the entire production is a model for recordings of this kind.This disc is not only beautiful, it is important.” - Gregory Crowell (Clavichord International)
“This is a unique recording in that for the first time we hear a clavichord in French keyboard music. It is also a groundbreaking recording … because of the possible impact on the approach to French harpsichord music in general. The programme is well put together, including many pieces which are unknown and are played according to the performance habits of the time. Charlston once again proves to be a very stylish and sensitive interpreter. His performances here are simply superb. I should not forget to acknowledge the efforts of the technical staff which has managed to make the clavichord sound very natural. Ample reasons to label this disc Recording of the Month.” - Johan van Veen (MusicWeb)

“Terence Charlston's new CD of 16th and 17th century French keyboard music combines delight and illumination to an uncommon degree. Charlston's playing is sure and vivacious throughout; the recorded sound is detailed and warm. The liner notes are unusually generous. Highly recommended!” - Paul Rabin (Bulletin of the Boston Clavichord Society)

“This is a remarkably entrancing disc. Charlston extracts so many fine sounds, lovely sonorities and ear catching timbres from this remarkable instrument. This is a terrific survey of French music of the 16 th and 17 th century refracted through an instrument of many fascinating and attractive qualities. The recording is ideal; the microphones set perfectly with much detail and intimacy. There are excellent detailed notes by Terence Charlston as well as a beautifully produced and illustrated booklet full of facsimiles of the music and photos of the instrument. It is terrific that Divine Art continues to bring us such treasures as this.” - Bruce Reader (The Classical Reviewer)

“This pleasant album is more important for scholars of music and keyboard buffs than your casual listener, though it's a nice enough collection. It's got a nice early music feel to it...it's a music geek's delight, as Charleston plays music of the period, recreating a sound that has probably not been heard for several hundred years: it's how early French keyboard music would have sounded to the audiences of the day. You've got to admire the energy behind the enterprise.” – Jeremy Condliffe (The Chronicle)

” Throughout the recordings, Charlston's careful attention to details of articulation and ornamentation is impressive, and the range of dynamics he draws from the instrument should convince the most sceptical of the potential of the clavichord. This CD is an excellent introduction to this repertoire, much of which is still largely unexplored and unrecorded; it will appeal not only to the specialist performer but also to those non-players who are keen to expand their knowledge of less familiar repertoire.” - John Collins (The Consort)

"Genuinely delightful" - Andrew MacGregor (BBC Radio 3 CD Review)
“Peter Bavington has made a splendid specimen [of the clavichord]. One can not remain indifferent to the enveloping sound of this instrument. Passionate and at the same time reflective in his playing, Terence Charlston expresses in this recording a total act of love towards this so delicate and particular keyboard. ” - Andrea Bedetti (CD Classico)

“This is more than just an historical documentation, for the various works are drawn from a wide variety of sources. The result is a slow meandering of over a century and a half of music that is rarely, if ever, on a program. Charlston's playing is skillful and interesting, with discrete and appropriate ornamentation and a knack for never obscuring the melody, no matter what sort of counterpoint is going on.” – Bertil van Boer (Fanfare)

“The important thing about this disc is that the instrument used is a reconstruction of a clavichord as it was described by one Marin Mersenne in 1637. This pleases me because what I hear on this CD is as close I am going to get to hearing what they heard back then. The booklet is packed with information about the instrument, the composers, and the selections. I can picture music departments wanting a copy of this very interesting collection. “ - Frank Behrens (Brattleboro Reformer)

“ I confess that I'm a sucker for the clavichord. Its sound is limited and idiosyncratic but definitely charming ... clavichordist Terence Charlston uses the instrument's radically limited expressive range to full effect.” - Rick Anderson (CD Hotlist)