Melancholy Grace

Melancholy Grace

This poised, emotionally inward-looking program finds French harpsichordist Jean Rondeau in fine form, as he explores that peculiarly 16th- and 17th-century fascination with melancholy. Moving musically around Europe to take in Italy, the Netherlands, England, and Germany, Rondeau plays an Italian virginals and a modern replica of an 18th-century harpsichord—both instruments with strong individual personalities—to probe melancholy expressed through chromaticism (mainly by Italian composers) but also as evoked in tears (primarily English composers like Bull, Dowland, and Gibbons). His sense of fantasy and striking ability to communicate makes this not only a beautifully conceived program, but one that is also wonderfully satisfying.

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