Photo: Lisa Fan
Recordings are made for all sorts of reasons. One of them is so that performers can share their music and their instruments with a larger group of listeners than is ever likely to otherwise be able to hear them. In 2011 violinist Alexandra MacCracken organized an independent recording performed by the Ensemble Gaudior, of which she is the founder and director. The ensemble’s name is borrowed from a musical unicorn who appears in a book by Madeleine L’Engle and time-travels through the universe joyfully harmonizing with the music of the spheres.
As its title Masters of the Baroque intimates, on this recording the Ensemble Gaudior performs music of Bach, Handel, Rameau, Biber, Scarlatti and Vivaldi on violin, cello, and harpsichord. The 1987 harpsichord they use, based on a 1638 Jan Ruckers original, was purchased in 2002 by the Saint Luke Catholic Church of McLean, Virginia. In an effort to let as many people as possible enjoy this instrument the church is the executive producer of the CD.
Here is an excerpt from the third movement of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonata No. 4 in C minor for solo violin and obbligato harpsichord.