There were many worlds in George Malcolm’s (1917–1997) universe – organist, harpsichordist, pianist, composer, choral director and conductor – and this one demonstrates his unique skill as a solo performer who, throughout his career, more than any other individual defined the harpsichord’s identity in England. After World War II Malcolm became the most famous English harpsichordist of his day, with a brilliant technique, superb musicianship and an idiosyncratically modern approach to playing which, for his audiences, came to exemplify the very nature of the instrument itself. In celebration of the centenary of his birth (28 February 1917).
The present release explores George Malcolm’s work from the 1960s as soloist with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in concertos by Carl Philipp Emanuel, Johann Christian Bach and Thomas Arne. In addition to the concertos there are also samples of Malcolm’s brilliant solo playing, including the F-major Sonata by Arne (as close to Scarlatti as an English composer ever came) and an exotic set of variations on ‘Les Folies d’Espagne’ by C.P.E. Bach. His brilliant, mercurial style is well suited to the younger generation Bachs, so different in outlook from their famous father and his dense, contrapuntal language. These recordings of the solo works and the J.C. Bach concerto were made using a large two-manual Goble harpsichord, while the familiar sound of the Thomas Goff instrument is heard in the concertos by C.P.E. Bach and Arne.
Notes are by Peter Watchorn, an Australian-born, US-based harpsichordist, one of whose teachers, Harold Lobb, was also an associate of Malcolm.
THOMAS AUGUSTINE ARNE
Harpsichord Concerto No. 5 in G minor
Sonata No. 1 in F major*
Overture No. 1 in E minor
CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH
Sinfonia in B flat major, Wq 182 No. 2*
Variations on Les Folies d’Espagne*
Harpsichord Concerto in C minor Wq 43 No. 4
JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH
Harpsichord Concerto in A major, T297/l(ii)
George Malcolm, harpsichord
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
*FIRST RELEASE ON CD
Recording Producers: Michael Bremner (Arne, C.P.E. Bach); Erik Smith (J.C. Bach)
Balance Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson, Alan Reeve (Arne, C.P.E. Bach); James Lock (J.C. Bach)
Recording Locations: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 13, 16 & 17 November 1967 (Arne, C.P.E. Bach), 5–6 August 1968 (J.C. Bach)
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