This concert by Slovenia’s Dalibor Miklavčič features both the organ and two unusual instruments that are all but forgotten today. The pedal harpsichord and pedal pianoforte are known primarily in music circles as instruments for home practice by organists. In reality, however, they are independent instruments with their own repertoire, to which the likes of Buxtehude, Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Liszt, Alkan, Gounod and many others devoted their attention as either players or composers. Many works written originally for organ can be performed with surprising clarity on the pedal harpsichord, one of the instruments of the Baroque era requiring the greatest virtuosity in playing technique. The interchangeable nature of Baroque keyboard instruments is difficult to comprehend for us given how rarely one encounters composer-performers who are able – as J.S. Bach was – to handle not only keyboards but also string and wind instruments with equal artistic skill. A description by Bach’s student Johann Friedrich Agricola shows just how freely Bach managed this interchangeability between instruments: “The composer would often play his own solo sonatas for violin on clavichord, filling them with as much harmony as was necessary to acquire a pleasant tone.” “Miklavčič is an engaging, spontaneous young man with an excellent command of English and German and a terrific sense of humour,” reads a report in the journal Muzsika of a master class given by the performer at the Academy of Music. “His theoretical and instrumental knowledge, temperament and tirelessness were astonishing; in his performance, he demonstrated brilliant stylistic gifts, technical tricks of the trade and historic fingering techniques to the youngsters. […] The warm, noble sound of the upright piano, enriched with the unbelievable virtuosity of his pedal work (a sight to behold in itself!), created the impression of a pianist duo playing together with a very great familiarity indeed.”
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