Repertoire & Programme Suggestions
Paul Simmonds' repertoire encompasses music from the 15th to the 21st centuries. As far as possible he plays on instruments suitable to the period, generally drawing on harpsichords and clavichords in his own collection.
The following programmes are suggestions only, and can be adapted to suit individual concert situations. Clavichords are relatively small and easily transported, which means two or three instruments can be featured in a recital. Most programmes lend themselves to being performed on harpsichord and/or clavichord.
"The Age of Sensibility"
The clavichord came into its own in the second half of the 18 th century, when in Germany a considerable amount of solo keyboard works were published with the clavichord in mind. In addition to the key composers C. P. E. and W.F. Bach and J. Haydn, a programme from this period could contain music by other fine but unjustly neglected composers such as E.W. Wolf (see recordings), D.G. Türk, J.G. Müthel, J.W. Hässler and J.F. Reichardt.
"The Georgian Harpsichord"
Music in England throughout the 18 th century was much influenced by G.F. Handel. In this programme suites by Handel are juxtaposed with music by Thomas Arne, Barnabus Gunn, Francesco Geminiani, Anthony Young and Richard Jones.
"J.S. Bach on the Pedal Clavichord"
J.S. Bach's organ works as you've probably never heard them before!
"Especially beautiful was the radiant Wenn wir in Hochsten Nothen sein (BWV 641) imbued with a rare tenderness and warmth, every phrase perfectly shaped and sung, so to speak, in one breath.
Never has the imposing C minor Passacaglia BWV 582 seemed so short; the impression was not of a series of insular variations, but a stream of musical thought gradually gathering force and resolving in the final peroration. Likewise the Chorale Partita BWV 768, where the exquisite slow variation could not have been more sympathetically rendered. Performed with delicacy and elegance Simmonds concluded his illuminating recital with the celebrated Toccata in D minor BWV 565 which was barely recognizable, so different was it from the familiar reading."
Harpsichord Music from the French Courts
Music from the Couperin family, Rameau, Marchand, d'Anglebert and Le Roux
"Homage to Pantaleon Hebenstreit"
Hebenstreit was a legendary dulcimer player in the first half of the 18 th century. His influence was so great that dulcimer or "pantalon" registers were built into keyboard instruments, in particular clavichords. In a programme of music by J.S. Bach and his sons, Goldberg, Telemann and Fischer, Paul Simmonds plays on a anonymous pantalon clavichord of about 1745.
"The Renaissance Clavichord"
This programme spans the hundred years from the late Renaissance to the start of the Baroque era. Included is some of the earliest known keyboard music from German tablatures and sacred and secular pieces from the Tudor period offset by canzonas and dances from 16 th century Italy.
"Paul Simmonds now gave preference to the reproduction "Pisaurensis" clavichord, which responded fully to his virtuoso, intense and expressive playing manner, whether in the melancholy of Pavana & Galiarda Dolorosa or in the jolly game of Barley Break, where he combined dance-like energy with precision and a singing tone with a percussive touch.
Like fine filagree Paul Simmonds spun musical threads with nimble fingers. The early musicians decorated their songs and dances with imagination "like jazz musicians today", the soloist told us, and, with sympathetic understanding, he drew from these old scores, all the joy of playing and spontaneity so typical of Renaissance music."
"The Musical Flower-Garden"
Suites, Toccatas and Variations from seventeenth century Germany, with music by Pachelbel, Buxtehude, Kuhnau, Speth and Froberger.
Instruments available for recitals:
Clavichord after Bodechtel, by Karin Richter, 1986 (used on CD AM1145-2)
Anonymous north German pantalon clavichord, ca.1745
17 th century clavichord after the Russell Collection anonymous instrument, ca. 1670, by Darryl Martin
17 th century clavichord after Leipzig Collection no.10 by Peter Bavington, 2001
Clavichord after Pisaurensis, 1543, by Karin Richter 1993 (used on CD AM1378-2)
Harpsichord after Thomas Barton, 1709, by Malcolm Rose, 1997
Harpsichord after Faby of Bologna, 1677, by Jean-Pierre Batt, 1969 (used on CD AM1167-2)
Harpsichord after an anonymous 17 th century French instrument, 1667, by Malcolm Rose 1997
Harpsichord after L. Theewes, 1579, by Malcolm Rose, 2004
Chest organ after the Knole house organ, ca.1626, by Martin Renshaw and Karl Wieneke, 1982
"Paul Simmonds spielt sehr sensibel und farbenreich. Kennern und Liebhabern nachdrücklich empfohlen."
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