The Golden Age of Harpsichord Music. Rafael Puyana. Mercury Living Presence 434 364-2 (1995)

The Golden Age of Harpsichord Music. Rafael Puyana. Mercury Living Presence 434 364-2 (1995), barcode 028943436427



Recorded April-May 1962, April 1964

A lovely recital
Originally posted on, 4 December 2012

The companion disc to “Rafael Puyana Baroque Masterpieces for the Harpsichord” (see my review) – or the other way around, because “Baroque Masterpieces” was published in 1999 – and a lovely recital, compiling the complete contents of “The Golden Age of Harpsichord Music”, LP Mercury SR90304, recorded in April and May 1962 (tracks 1-16) and the partial contents of SR90411 “Baroque Masterpieces for the Harpsichord” from April 1964, the rest of that LP being on the same-titled CD referenced above. Great recording, sonorous harpsichord but never banging and clanging either. The program is marvelously entertaining, plucked from a variety of sources, beginning with one of the oldest manuscripts of English keyboard music kept at the British Musuem (track 1, the anonymous “My Lady Carey’s Dompe” – yes, “Dompe”, not “Rompe”, in Renaissance English a “Dompe” is a kind of Lament) and down to Bach’s transcription of Alessandro Marcello’s Oboe Concerto (tracks 12-14) and Matteo Albeniz’ Sonata after the model of Scarlatti’s from the early 19th Century (track 16). The recital offers an alternation of invigoratingly lively dance movements, like John Bull’s Variations “Les Buffons” (track 2) and his “King’s Hunt” (track 8), Byrd’s “La Volta” (track 4) or Jean-Baptiste Bésard’s “Branle Gay” (track 9 – Amazon would certainly censor me if I attempted a translation from modern French. In Old French it means something like “Merry Dance”, I think), and more pensive and lamenting pieces. TT 75:38. Liner notes describing each piece by Puyana himself. The booklet ends with a short bio of Puyana that treats him as if he were still alive. Well: he is, still playing, and recording now and then for SanCtus Records (the capital C isn’t a typo – link will open new tab to the label’s website): see SCS 015 “Magica Sympathiae” barcode 7394218000154, SCS 012 “The Musical Sun of Southern Europe I” barcode 7394218000123 and SCS 013 “The Musical Sun of Southern Europe II” barcode 7394218000130. The French public radio devoted 5 one-hour broadcasts to (and with) him in April-May 2012, still streamable or pod-castable from their website as I write.


And a post-script from 30 March 2013. As of March 1, 2013, the bio is now wrong.

Comments are welcome