Exciting sound journey through the centuries

Exciting sound journey through the centuries
Alexander Gergelyfi
Image: Maria Otter

There is something magical when an instrument built more than 400 years ago still makes any sounds at all. The Linz-born harpsichordist Alexander Gergelyfi presented music composed between 1600 and 1780 on instruments from almost the same period in the Brucknerhaus on Tuesday. Among them, in addition to the mentioned virginal built around 1600, a clavichord from around 1700 from Admont Abbey. In addition, Gergelyfi played on fantastic replicas of two historical harpsichords from Berlin and Hamburg as well as a fortepiano.

Five worlds of sound

Five instruments, five unique sound worlds, for which Gergelyfi presented an equally rare but perfectly coordinated program, beginning with an early Toccata by Georg Friedrich Handel and Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck’s “Fantasia Cromatica” to one of the earliest sonatas for the fortepiano by Lodovico Giustini. Also fine are the variations by Mozart’s contemporary Joseph Martin Kraus and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach’s Fantasy in E minor, which pulls out all the registers of the sensitive style.

While the Hamburg harpsichord has a powerful tone and easily filled the middle hall, the Admonter clavichord demands the utmost concentration, because the fine monochord strings, which are only touched with a delicate tangent, were already at the limit of what was audible for some listeners. But precisely this intimacy, which Alexander Gergelyfi evoked with Georg Muffat’s G minor Passacaglia and a Partita by Johann Jacob Froberger, shows the unbelievable color and diversity of the sound. Albeit very, very quietly. The small sarabande of Ferdinand III, played as an encore on all five instruments. made the exciting journey of sound even more tangible. (wuss)

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