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Harmonia Early Music

Froberger Suites And Toccatas

Harpsichord music of Johann Jacob Froberger played by the Romanian harpsichordist Alina Rotaru.

Harpsichordist and teacher Alina Rotaru, from the CD cover for Froberger: Suites & Toccatas.

Good taste has always been important to cultured people, but never was it more vociferously espoused than in the baroque period.  Johann Jacob Froberger was a wanderer, visiting the important musical capitals of his day – Rome, Dresden, Amsterdam, Paris and more – to absorb current ideas of good taste. His music reflects his experience of performances of virtuosi such as Girolamo Frescobaldi, Giacomo Carissimi, Denis Gaultier and Louis Couperin, all of whom he heard on his travels.

The most important composer of keyboard music in mid-17th century Germany, Froberger’s music contains elements of the German, French and Italian styles, and is also programmatic, dwelling on personal distress, dangerous situations, and his own awareness of mortality, though always, of course, in a very tasteful way.

In 2012, Carpe Diem Records issued a CD of suites and toccatas of Froberger performed by the Romanian harpsichordist Alina Rotaru.  She plays on a Ruckers harpsichord built in 1623 and reconstructed in 1745 that may have once belonged to Marie Antoinette.  Here is an excerpt from the Gigue of Suite XIX in c minor. The attentive listener will notice how the tuning of the harpsichord strongly affects the flavor of the music.

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Wendy Gillespie

Wendy Gillespie, Director of the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project, is Professor Emerita of Music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and Past President of the Viola da Gamba Society of America. In 2011 she was awarded Early Music America’s Thomas Binkley Award, and in 2012 a Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award. She continues to enjoy her career as a performing musician, having made more than 100 recordings and performed on five continents. Wendy began working with Harmonia in January 2012.

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