J.P. Sweelinck :: Echo Fantasia in Aeolian mode, SwWV 275

For organ; played on the fretted clavichord

The music of Sweelinck has been always close to my heart. I has such a grandeur, structure, balance, depth,... it feels as waling in one of those incredible Dutch churches built by masters like Van Campen, where all seems to be exactly at the right place, not sterile, but combining overview with air and emotion. Something like that.
You will hear in the Afterthoughts on this recording that I like playing on this little instrument built by Christopher Clarke in 1978 very very much, but that, as for the time being, my focus will stay on my large unfretted clavichord I usually play, and on the coming pianoforte.
But checking the video before uploading, I... must admit that it has a stronger effect with me than I thought it would have. I'm surprised by that little clavichord in a way that, while playing, felt different.
The effect of what this instrument brings in this music is deeper than I initially thought it would be. Some other elements that I only now notice very clear: the length of the tone, especially in the tenor range !! Have you heard those long notes... almost hard to believe how they keep there ground tone. Yes, my large clavichord has a long tone as well, but that type of clavichord is not to be compared to such small instrument, where length of tone must be exceptionally hard -I might be wrong - to achieve.
And this is 1978...! Clarke sure must have put a benchmark for future generations, even if he only had built this instrument only. He sure is a master-builder, but that is something one does not have to learn anymore out of my pen.
So, all of that saying that I kind of doubt my own words already that I yet have to speak to you in the next Afterthoughts. An instrument like this might actually come sooner than planned. If budget allows of course :-).
And for the Sweelinck Echo Fantasia: I always have learned this to be a piece solely for organ. And that might be the case. But, as the beautiful recording by Hogwood of Bach's Gott, du frommer Gott on clavichord, inspired me to record that piece as well on clavichord, I for long wanted to test an echo fantasia out on clavichord. Sweelinck and unfretted clavichords are no match, really not, but on a fretted clavichord, with a dynamic range as this Clarke clavichord has, a world opens. I believe it make sense to perform this music like this. Let me know what you think!

Thanks for watching / listening / reading!


A concert in 2014 with the Saxon clavichord, at the "Hoksent kapel"

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