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Customer Review

on 4 June 2013
The German composer Gottlieb Muffat was the youngest son of the composer Georg Muffat. He was born in 1690. He was the most celebrated and gifted of all Georg's musical offspring. He was noted for being a very fine harpsichordist as a child. He studied the art of composition with his father. He spent much of his life in the employment of the Imperial Court of Vienna.

Naoka Akutagawa has recorded several CDs on the Naxos label, this is the only one I have heard. What strikes one immediately is the strikingly beautiful, clear, bright sound of the harpsichord used here (by Henk van Schevikhoven, Helsinki).

This is compelling, cultivated and captivating playing. Muffat's harpsichord music is highly inventive and he employs a wonderful harmonic arsenal. It is also intensely expressive. Akutagawa teases out the harmonic textures and subtle inflections with exquisite refinement and a graceful simplicity. The effect is spell-binding. All the while, you get the feeling that it is all spontaneous with an improvisatory approach.

I was rather intrigued by the Compinimenti Musicali No. 7 MC A19 (Ciaconna con 38 Variazioni) which sounded very similar to Handel's G major Chaconne. I was intrigued to know which came first.

The recording is made in a very favorable acoustic, allowing the instrumental textures to emerge with clarity. Alison J. Dunlop's liner notes are very well researched and provide an extremely good background to the music. I would now like to investigate Akutagawa's other discs on Naxos.
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