Grunewald / De Fernando Luca De Luca - 7 Partiten | RECORD STORE DAY

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Gottfried Grunewald was a successful opera singer in 18th-century Germany, based at the theatre in Hamburg for many years, but a familiar figure in German courts and theatres across Germany. When he died in 1739, the composer Christopher Graupner (his colleague in Darmstadt) destroyed most of Grunewald's music, according to an agreement they had apparently made. Only seven keyboard partitas are known to have survived to modern times, and they receive their first complete recording here in the spirited hands of Fernando de Luca, who has done so much to rescue forgotten names from obscurity with his albums for Brilliant Classics. The loss of Grunewald's output becomes especially regrettable once close attention is paid to these Parititas. They reveal a deep knowledge of the instrument's technique and a refined compositional taste. Stylistically close to German composers of the time such as Kuhnau and Fischer, they also bring to mind the suites composed in Germany by the young Handel (preceding the Eight Great Suites), and the music of the young Graupner. Grunewald shows some skill as a contrapuntalist within the restrictions of the suite genre.The preludes of these partitas are not uniform in form; for example, the Prelude in D minor incorporates broad arpeggiated chords, which begin and end a strict fugue but then dissolves into free motivic play. Another is purely figurative, a third mixes movement with short imitations. Grunewald's allemandes build up like intricate etudes, including one example constructed in an organistically contrapuntal manner. The courantes are interwoven with imitative passages, the sarabandes are melodically appealing, sometimes breathing in the spirit of Handel's nobility of gesture. The doubles and minuets almost give the impression of variations. Some pieces have strongly emphasised French rhythms, others avoid it completely. Potentially incomplete, but certainly striking, is the two-movement Fourth Suite, with it's spacious Allemande followed by an imposing Chaconne, presenting a complete contrast to the nine brief dances of the Fifth Suite, which find Grunewald at his most French-accented. Reviewing the recent set of the harpsichord music by Pierre-Thomas Dufour on Brilliant, Fanfare noted: 'De Luca does a fine job in his performance, with a good sense of phrasing and registration.'- Gottfried Grunewald (1673 -1739) was a German opera singer, harpsichordist and composer. Nothing is known about his youth and training. From 1703 he was a singer and composer at the Oper am Gansemarkt in Hamburg. From the beginning of 1709, he worked as Vice-Kapellmeister at the court of Johann Georg von Sachsen-Weissenfels, where he married Johann Philipp Krieger's daughter. From 1711, he worked as vice-chapelmaster at the court in Darmstadt as Christoph Graupner's deputy. Around 1717, several journeys as a pantaleon virtuoso are documented. He remained active at court until his death.- Of his works, only seven partitas for harpsichord have survived, written in the style customary for the time. The suites consist of the usual order of Prelude-Allemande-Courante-Sarabande-Gavotte-Menuet-Gigue. - "too many performers confine themselves to the standard repertoire. Fortunately, there are artists who look beyond the obvious; Fernando de Luca is one of them and we should be thankful for him. de Luca is a good interpreter; I very much enjoyed his performances, they are as differentiated as possible, also in his treatment of the tempi. He has the advantage of a fine instrument, a copy of a Blanchet of 1754. That is as 'authentic' as one could wish for." Thus wrote Musicweb International about de Luca's recording of harpsichord works by Foucquet.