Another wonderful recommendation of a super-budget priced re-issue. Herbert Howells wrote his three books of clavichord pieces between 1927 and 1971.They recreate the dancelike spirit of Tudor keyboard music while paying homage to many well known English musical figures of the 20th century.
Although written for clavichord they are thankfully played by John McCabe on the piano, and avoid the almost insoluble problems of reproducing the sound of a clavichord. The concept of the works is rather similar to Elgar's Enigma Variations with its 'friends pictured within'. Although this is not profound music it is beautifully turned, evokes the style of the great Tudor composers beautifully, and has great fun gently parodying fellow musicians including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Malcom Arnold, Julian Bream, Edmund Rubbra, Gerald Finzi and William Walton.
Howells' and Lambert's Clavichord is perfect late night listening, and is a must both for fans of the great Tudor composers and of 20th century English music. I bought it when it was first released on Hyperion, and it has now been re-issued on their super-budget Helios label (catalogue number CDH55152) for round £5 ($9 US) - unmissable. Audio samples can be found on Hyperion's website.
If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to Elgar's other enigma
Image credit - Double-Fretted clavichord, anonymous.Germany, c.1770 from Russell Collection of EarlyKeyboard Instruments. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk