Music Before 1800 on the Keyboard

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Program: #21-43   Air Date: Oct 18, 2021

Two extraordinary harpsichord recitals featuring Aya Hamada taking us to 18th century France, and Peter Sykes with German works “Not by Bach."

MB1800, a NYC institution, is the city’s longest-running series devoted exclusively to early music. Since the series’ inception, concerts have been presented at Corpus Christi Church in Morningside Heights, giving audiences a uniquely satisfying experience.

Louise Basbas is the founder and director of the series. The New Yorker praised MB1800, calling it “the essential series.” Time Out New York remarked: “The resonant acoustics of Corpus Christi Church will deliver you into your own personal solitude.... Few other venues can claim this fusion of strong programming and quality auditory surroundings.”

Music Before 1800 is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. MB1800 is also supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Praised for her “graceful” (New York Times) performance, harpsichordist Aya Hamada is an active recitalist, concerto soloist, and continuo player. She has given numerous recitals in major venues throughout Japan as well as the US, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, England, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. These include a recital at the Peñíscola International Festival of Medieval and Baroque Music (Spain), Da Camera Society (Los Angeles), Harpsichord Heaven at the Flint Collection (Wilmington DE), the Québec Government Office, and at the International Conference of the Historical Keyboard Society of North America (Montreal). She has made over three dozen appearances as concerto soloist on four continents and has performed under conductors such as William Christie, Jordi Savall, Harry Bicket, Nicolas McGegan, Christophe Rousset, and Masaaki Suzuki.
This from a review in the New York Times about her concerto performance with conductor William Christie in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center: “Ms. Hamada gave a deft account of Handel’s Concerto.” She was also praised by the Columbia Dispatch: “She defined the torrent of notes beautifully for the ear, while never sacrificing virtuosity; her illuminating playing drew well-deserved cheers.” Others have praised her “flawless technique” (Boston Globe), and “superb command of the harpsichord” (Springfield Republican). She premiered Virginal by Harold Meltzer with the New Juilliard Ensemble in 2010.

Her debut album Jacques Duphly: Pièces de clavecin was chosen as Recording of the Month in The Music Web International (July 2015), The Record Geijutsu Magazine (June 2015), and the Tokyo FM Music Bird (June 2016). The American Record Guide wrote, “This is a terrific solo debut… Her control of touch and dramatic delivery are both extraordinary. Her expressiveness is especially noteworthy.” Others have acclaimed her “acrobatic finesse” (Early Music America Magazine), and “sensitive and dramatic interpretations” (Fanfare Magazine). 

She won first prize in the London Music Festival Competition and second prize in the Josef Hofmann Piano Competition. She earned her Master of Music degree in the inaugural class of Historical Performance from The Juilliard School. She studied under Kenneth Weiss in New York and Skip Sempé in Paris and has received additional coaching from Pierre Hantaï and Christophe Rousset.

In fall 2020, she is scheduled to make a recording of a new Bach album at the Musée d’Art et dHistoire de Neuchâtel (Switzerland) on the historic 1632/1745 Ruckers harpsichord.

Aya Hamada, harpsichord
Portraits et Caractères Couperin, Rameau, Duphly 
This program is sponsored, in part, by Nancy Hager.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City 
Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Virtual concert 4 p.m. Sunday, May 23, 2021

Recorded at Corpus Christi Church, May 17, 2021
Prélude non mesuré en mi mineur

La Superbe ou la Forqueray, fièrement, sans lenteur

Troisième livre de pièces de clavecin, 17ème ordre (1722) 

Allemande La Couperin

Pièces de clavecin, dédiées à la Reine (1733) 

La Couperin, d'une vivacité modérée

Troisième livre de pièces de clavecin, 21ème ordre

Quatre Suites de Pièces de clavecin, Op.59 (1736) 

La Veloutée (pièce en rondeau)

La Frénétique (pièce en rondeau)

La Caverneuse, gracieusement (pièce en rondeau)

La Rustique (pièce en rondeau)

Pièces de clavessin (1724) 

Les Tendres Plaintes (rondeau)

Les Tourbillons (rondeau)

L’Entretien des Muses

Les Cyclopes (rondeau)

Pièces de viole mises en pièces de clavecin, cinquième suite (1747)

La Rameau, majestueusement

La Silva, très tendrement

Jupiter, modérément

Troisième livre de pièces de clavecin (1756)

La Forqueray (rondeau)

Les Grâces, tendrement


Louis Couperin (c. 1626 - 1661)

François Couperin (1668 - 1733)

François D'Agincourt (1683 - 1759)

François Couperin

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689 - 1755)

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683 - 1764)

Antoine Forqueray (1671 - 1745) /

Jean-Baptiste Forqueray (1699 - 1782)

Jacques Duphly (1715 - 1789)

Peter Sykes, “a formidable organist who plays with artistry, subtlety, and insight,” is one of the most distinguished and versatile keyboard artists performing today. His live performances on the organ, harpsichord, clavichord or fortepiano have variously been called “compelling and moving,” “magni"cent and revelatory,” and “bold, imaginative, and amazingly accurate.” His recordings, most notably the groundbreaking transcription for organ of Holst’s !e Planets, have been called “satisfying and persuasive,” “hauntingly beautiful,” and “simply stunning.”

Peter Sykes serves as Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Historical Performance and Organ Departments at Boston University where he teaches organ, harpsichord, clavichord, and continuo realization. He is Music Director of First Church in Cambridge, and principal instructor of harpsichord at #e Juilliard School in New York City. He is also a longtime faculty member of the summer workshops given by the Amherst Early Music Festival and the San Francisco Early Music Society.

He performs extensively on the harpsichord, clavichord, and organ and has made ten solo recordings of organ and harpsichord repertory ranging from Buxtehude, Couperin and Bach to Reger, Holst, and Hindemith. Newly released is a recording of the complete Bach harpsichord partitas on the Centaur label, and an all-Bach clavichord recording on the Raven label. He also performs and records with Boston Baroque and Aston Magna.

A founding board member and president of the Boston Clavichord Society as well as immediate past president of the West"eld Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, he is the recipient of the Chadwick Medal (1978) and Outstanding Alumni Award (2005) from the New England Conservatory, the Erwin Bodky Prize (1993) from the Cambridge Society for Early Music, and the Distinguished Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation (2011), given previously to artist Edward Hopper, sculptor Alexander Calder, and writer Annie Dillard, among others.

Georg Böhm (1661 - 1733)
Vincent Lübeck (1654 - 1740)
Christoph Graupner (1683 - 1760)
Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg (1718 - 1795)
Johann Mattheson (1681- 1764)

Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713 - 1780)
Suite in D Major
Rigaudon - Trio
Praeludium et Fuga

Partita in D Minor

Sinfonia in G Major
Allegro Assai
Suite Première pour le Clavecin
Allemande et Double
Courante et Double

Sonata in A Minor, Krebs-WV 838
Fantasia - Allegro
Allegro assai

Composer Info

Louis Couperin (c. 1626 - 1661), Fraçois Couperin (1668 - 1733), François D'Agincourt (1683 - 1759), Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689 - 1755), Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683 - 1764), Antoine Forqueray (1671 - 1745), Jean-Baptiste Forqueray (1699 - 1782), Jacques Duphly (1715 - 1789), Georg Böhm (1661 - 1733), Vincent Lübeck (1654 - 1740), Christoph Graupner (1683 - 1760), Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg (1718 - 1795), Johann Mattheson (1681- 1764), Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713 - 1780),