J. P. Sweelinck, Fortune My Foe (Works for harpsichord), A. Rotaru
(released on November 16, 2010)
Carpe Diem CD-16281 | 77'40"
The disc closes with pieces by Sweelinck's contemporaries, including one extremely chromatic tribute to Sweelinck, Fantazia op de Fuga van M. J. P., made by John Bull upon hearing of Sweelinck's death in 1621 (here the harpsichord's temperament can curl your hair with all those half-steps). The sound is particularly satisfying (production by Jonas Niederstadt), capturing in vivid detail most of the core of the harpsichord's sound without too much of the clattering action. Birds can be heard outside the St. Johannis-Kirche in Arenshorst, Germany, singing in the silences, in the somber Ach Gott von Himmel sieh darein, a setting of a chorale of particularly Protestant fervor (the choice by the Catholic Sweelinck perhaps showing his malleable loyalty), among many other tracks. Rotaru has an accomplished, rather active, even flashy style of playing, heard in the crisp repeated notes, dotted groupings, and divisions of Mein junges Leben hat ein End', for example. While this disc is not an easy one to recommend except for fans of the harpsichord, it is no surprise to learn that it has been nominated for the 2011 MIDEM “International Classical Music Award” in the Early Music category.