The Big Harpsichord Box

I need to share this.

There’s a product on Amazon. (This is not an endorsement of Amazon per se.) It’s a SIX-CD set called The Big Harpsichord Box. Over six hours of harpsichord music by a variety of performers.

For reasons why are mysterious to me, the whole kit and caboodle is available as an mp3 download for… are you ready for this? …99 cents.

That’s for a full download of all 125 files. Ninety-nine cents for EVERYTHING. Not per song, as is typical.

I did a double-take, then a triple-take, then I looked for fine print–assuming that the price came with “Prime” membership, which I do not want.

Nope.

A dollar minus a penny for the whole collection.

Loads of Purcell, Scarlatti, Couperin, Rameau, Soler, Bach, Haydn.

Of course, I bought it. I listened yesterday, and this morning on the long bus ride to the city. Incredible. Excellent performances, including the Goldberg Variations played by Gustav Leonhardt. His take is so fruitfully different from Gould II (which has been my favorite since 1980).

Why give this away for so little money? I suspect it’s because there is a spirit of hyper-purity still at work in enough of the early music world that the title is offputting. I mean, really: Big Harpsichord Box. It sounds like My First Little Harpsichord. Or perhaps these artist’s aren’t the Artistes Fa├žonables du Jour. I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s my gain.

Never judge a book by its cover, or in this case a CD by its title.

Highly recommended.

UPDATE: Still highly recommended, but I might have mentioned that some of the performances are on the forbidden “revival” harpsichords–modern instruments that are not historical copies. I do prefer a historical instrument myself, but the music making in this collection is still superb.

About Jon

Keyboard artist, sacred musician, teacher, writer, working in New York City and State. Many interests include music theory and history, literature, astronomy, genealogy, philosophy and theology, gardening, and good food.
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