Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Harpsichord (But Were Afraid to Ask) (2007)

Shostakovich, Khachaturian, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Cramer, Schumann

Olga Martynova

Nowadays many performers want to play music written for piano on the harpsichord. I began my conversation with Olga Martynova by asking what first gave her the idea. It all began a few years ago. I was curious to know how music written for another instrument would sound when played on the harpsichord. I knew that Shostakovich and Prokofiev had been played on the harpsichord but had never listened to any recordings, maybe as a conscious decision. True, I have heard contemporary music written for harpsichord, but I find it sometimes even harder to play than other compositions that were never originally intended for the instrument.

 

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Olga Martynova

Olga Martynova is one of the premier harpsichordists in Russia today. An honours graduate in piano and harpsichord from the Moscow Conservatoire, she decided to devote herself to early music after hearing a recital in France by Hopkinson Smith, the distinguished performer of early plucked instruments. His master classes made a profound impression on her and deeply influenced her understanding of music. Martynova continued her studies in France, graduating from the Ecole Nationale de Musique de Bobigny with a gold medal. She went on to win the Van Wassenaer competition in the Netherlands and the Premio Bonporti in Italy, and has given harpsichord and piano recitals all over Europe. Since 2003 Olga Martynova has performed on historical instruments and toured with the Moscow orchestra Pratum Integrum. Like Pratum Integrum she records exclusively for the Caro Mitis label. Her previous recordings feature selected keyboard sonatas by Johann Christian Bach (CM 0052004), transcriptions of Baroque music for harpsichord (CM 0072004), Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer’s Musicalisches Blumen- Bu?schlein (CM 0012006) and piano pieces of the 19th and 20th centuries arranged for harpsichord (CM 0102006). These recordings have been widely praised (the German magazine Toccata- Alte Musik aktuell voted the album of J.C. Bach sonatas ‘CD of the month’). Olga Martynova also performs with the Moscow Baroque and A La Russe ensembles, and teaches at the Moscow Conservatoire and Gnesin School of Music.

 

 

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Harpsichord (But Were Afraid to Ask) (2007)

Shostakovich, Khachaturian, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Cramer, Schumann

Olga Martynova

    Positive Feedback

"Caro Mitis is a label that I followed from the first time I heard their work on SACD. In fact, I have most every SACD that Caro Mitis ever issued; yes, that is how impressed I was with this exceptional library of albums. Fine Russian artists recorded directly to Single DSD via the EMM Labs A/D and the Sonoma workstation? Sign me up! This album – Everything You Wanted to Know about the Harpsichord, but Were Afraid to Ask – is a diverse collection of works performed on harpsichord, an instrument that captured my heart as soon as I heard it in my childhood. Performed by the artist Olga Martynova, who obviously has an excellent feel for these works, I was carried away by the album from the first until the last song. Track 3, Khachaturian’s “Invention: Adagio from the ballet Gayane,” will be familiar to anyone who’s watched Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey.” This haunting composition always moves me to melancholy; there’s something of childhood’s end in its notes. Martynova has just the right touch, and the recording captures the rich tones, overtones, and percussives of the instrument that she has mastered. Every track on this album is a joy...taste and see!" - from the booklet of the album NDSD006 'Positive Feedback DSD Sampler'

David W. Robinson

    All Music

Russian harpsichordist Olga Martynova has picked pieces that are predominantly polyphonic in character, with Baroque-like textures such as regular broken chords, even in the Khachaturian selections. Shostakovich's preludes and fugues make a natural choice, but even the Romantic works by Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Schumann sound convincing. The harpsichord brings out the invention-like quality of the Song Without Words in C major, Op. 67/4, for example. Comparatively few audiophile recordings have come out of Russia, but this one captures the sonic dimensions of Martynova's contemporary Parisian copy of an eighteenth century French harpsichord.

James Manheim[read full review]

    SA-CD.net -

It turns out to be breathtakingly good. Although seemingly none of the pieces were written with the harpsichord in mind, they sound just right. The tone of the French Von Nagel harpsichord is gorgeous - the deep notes sounding particularly magical. A disc veritably bulging with highlights - the Shostakovich Fugue in A minor, the Khachaturian, the Mendelssohn (Wow!), the Schubert, the Cramer (Wow!), the Schumann - especially Mignon. Everything was selected by Olga - it's a wonderful collection. I've played only the surround program. The sound quality is to die for.

Fibonacci[read full review]

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Harpsichord (But Were Afraid to Ask) (2007)

Shostakovich, Khachaturian, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Cramer, Schumann

Olga Martynova

Digital Converters: Meitner design
Microphones: Neumann km130 DPA (B & K) 4006 ; DPA (B & K) 4011 SCHOEPS mk2S ; SCHOEPS mk41
Producer: Michael Serebryanyi
Recording Engineer: Erdo Groot, Roger de Schot
Recording location: 5th Studio of The Russian Television and Radio
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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CM0102006: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Harpsichord (But Were Afraid to Ask)
01:00:57   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Prelude in A major, op.87
Shostakovich
00:01:14   Select quality & channels above
2.
Fugue in A major, op.87
Shostakovich
00:03:07   Select quality & channels above
3.
Invention (from Album for Children)
Khachaturian
00:02:39   Select quality & channels above
4.
In Folk Style (from Album for Children)
Khachaturian
00:02:21   Select quality & channels above
5.
Etude (from Album for Children)
Khachaturian
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6.
Song without Words, op.67 N4
Mendelssohn
00:02:12   Select quality & channels above
7.
Moment Musical, in C sharp minor, op.94 N4
Schubert
00:06:13   Select quality & channels above
8.
Prelude in A minor, op.87
Shostakovich
00:01:05   Select quality & channels above
9.
Fugue in A minor, op.87
Shostakovich
00:02:07   Select quality & channels above
10.
Etude in E major
Cramer
00:02:56   Select quality & channels above
11.
Etude in F minor
Cramer
00:01:11   Select quality & channels above
12.
Etude in A minor
Cramer
00:03:18   Select quality & channels above
13.
Etude in B flat major
Cramer
00:01:43   Select quality & channels above
14.
Prelude in B flat minor, op.87
Shostakovich
00:03:46   Select quality & channels above
15.
Fugue in B flat minor, op.87
Shostakovich
00:08:21   Select quality & channels above
16.
The Reaper's Song (from Album for the Young)
Schumann
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17.
Small Fugue (from Album for the Young). - Prelude
Schumann
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18.
Small Fugue (from Album for the Young). - Fugue
Schumann
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19.
Mignon (from Album for the Young)
Schumann
00:03:01   Select quality & channels above
20.
"May, dear May..." (from Album for the Young)"
Schumann
00:02:16   Select quality & channels above
21.
Fugue in D minor, op.126 N4
Schumann
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22.
Prelude in D major, op.87
Shostakovich
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23.
Fugue in D major, op.87
Shostakovich
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