Duphly Harpsichord Works

Jacques Duphly is best known to harpsichordists for the four collections of harpsichord pieces he published in Paris between 1744 and 1768. These are spirited and pungent works, finely crafted in the tradition of Francois Couperin (in the Rondeau in D minor Duphly pays homage to Les Barricades mysterieuses) and emboldened by the manner of the Forquerays (in La Felix as well as La Forqueray). Mitzi Meyerson understands and relishes this music, with its beguiling sequences: her performances are arresting and delightfully unpredictable. Rather than playing a series of movements from single suites, she has mixed them up, alternating character pieces and dance movements; Italianate and more traditional French-styled movements, in different keys and from different books. On the one hand, she maximizes contrasts of style, tessitura (the pieces exploit different registers of the harpsichord: Les Graces is set in the treble, the Courante in D minor in the middle and La Forqueray in the bass) and mood not otherwise possible; on the other, she builds on the tension between them. Nicholas Anderson's note explores the inscriptions, many of which refer to members of the circle of musicians and artists who congregated around the wealthy, music-loving Alexandre-Jean-Joseph Le Riche de La Poupliniere; Anne-Jeanne Boucon, a pupil of his music master Rameau, was in fact the wife of Mondonville, not Forqueray.

Meyerson is a decisive player, sensitive to the rhetoric of the French classical style. Her command of the dramatic power of silence- from the hairbreadth created by subtle articulation (as in La Boucon and Les Graces) to the grand pause (the opening Legerement and La Vanlo)- is a particular delight. In the menuets she is witty; elsewhere she is flamboyant, never more so than in La Victoire. She indulges in rubato and rits, but does so convincingly. Nicholas Parker's recording is delightfully resonant, as befits the rich harmonic language of the music (enhanced by the variation in temperaments used) and the vitality of Meyerson's performances.'

Reviewer: Philip Kennicott

Harpsichordist Mitzi Meyerson has tremendous fun with these Eight Setts of Lessons for the Harpsichord by the English composer John Jones, a contemporary of CPE Bach and Gluck, and whose musical instincts are reminiscent of both of these better-known figures. Her ornamentation is adroit, limpid and refulgent, her registration choices smart and revealing, and she is happy to rearrange and interpolate for more striking musical and rhetorical effects. Meyerson is determined to make a case for Jones, and she succeeds. In a brief introductory essay, she places him in the shadow of Handel, whose domination of London musical life continued well after his near half-century residence ended with his death in 1759. And so, like Maurice Greene, William Boyce and Richard Jones, John Jones suffered in the Handelian monoculture: 'Had Handel lived in another time or place, these other musicians might have won a more prominent niche in musical history,' she writes. The damage, it seems, was mainly to his posthumous reputation; while alive, Jones did quite well, serving as organist and composer for major religious institutions, including St Paul's Cathedral from 1755 until his death in 1796.

On the page, Jones's Lessons look both simple (often written in two parts) and occasionally eccentric, with dance movements given familiar titles (Allemandes, Gigues, Gavottes) but sometimes odd rhythmic or structural twists. In the Third Lesson, Meyerson hears echoes of Scarlatti in the Gigue, which does indeed suggest Scarlatti's particular keyboard virtuosity, the basic two-part division of his sonatas and the sudden harmonic changes (especially in the second half) so characteristic of the Italian composer's idiosyncratic style. In other Lessons, CPE Bach is in the wings, with melodic lines that make adventurous upward leaps before resolving with Bach's particular flair for elegantly awkward surprise. Meyerson doesn't quite recompose these works but she is happy to take the music as a basic template for extensive elaboration. She may repeat a line for effect or end a conclusive phrase with a large, improvised flourish. I can't find a single instance in which she oversteps the bounds of good taste and, more importantly, faithful service to the spirit of the music. Furthermore, Meyerson is alert to the background musical ambience of this material, the larger complexity of London as musical entrepôt, with influence not just from major figures such as Handel, CPE Bach and Johann Christian Bach but also from the French harpsichordists, folk music and, in one delightful case, bagpipe music (she adds a drone figure in the accompaniment and places the melody an octave lower on the four-foot stop to heighten the nasal effect).

Jones's music comes alive through her efforts, and this double-disc set far transcends the dutiful rehabilitation of a neglected minor composer. It entertains.

Jones: Eight Setts of Lessons for the harpsichord, London 1754
Mitzi Meyerson

Glossa GCD921808

John Jones's harpsichord lessons (i.e. suites), published in 1754, are here rescued from an undeserved obscurity by Mitzi Meyerson. Jones has written some attractive music which shows an individual voice with a distinctive synthesis of the compositional elements common to composers of the period. As Meyerson points out in her illuminating notes Jones was well respected in his day, holding down three big positions including organist of St. Paul's Cathedral up to his death in 1796. Whether because of Handel's long shadow, as suggested by Meyerson, or because his published music was confined to three sets of keyboard lessons, some chants and a few songs, Jones has been largely forgotten, which is a pity since the music on this recording both delights and surprises.

Meyerson plays on a double-manual instrument by Michael Johnson which is very skillfully recorded to maximise its potential. The playing is always intelligent and expressive, showing a sympathetic approach to Jones' text while not being afraid to extend it by filling out and ornamenting. The CD ends with a single Brillante movement from one of Jones' later lessons printed in 1761; it would be great to hear more of that later music if Meyerson is inspired and helped to record it. Her current recording has already made a significant contribution to the story of English music.

Noel O'Regan

Ref. 418293
John Jones / Mitzi Meyerson

His name may not have the exotic twang of the more celebrated 18th-century harpsichord composers - George Frideric Handel, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Domenico Scarlatti - but John Jones's music is irresistibly colourful and eclectic. Ornate French-style preludes usher in Germanic dances, lilting Siciliane, lyrical Italianate 'arias', Scottish folk ditties and English ceremonial marches. Organist of St Paul's Cathedral for over 40 years, Jones was no mean keyboard player, and he rubbed shoulders with some of London's finest musicians - including Handel, to whom he pays tribute in Lesson 5 of this collection.

On the page, his music can look disarmingly simple ('pious and innocent', Haydn called it), so it takes a skilled and seasoned performer to realize its full potential. Harpsichord doyenne Mitzi Meyerson doesn't disappoint, bringing to these accounts improvisatory flair, expressive rhetorical gestures, balletic grace and agility. She varies timbre and texture to delightful effect, conjuring up plucked lutes and guitars (Disc 2 Tr 3, Disc 1 Tr 16), nasal bagpipes (Disc 1 Tr 15), pastoral flutes and musettes (Disc 2 Tr 8), carillons (Disc 2 Tr 7), even an entire orchestra in the concerto-like opening movements of Lessons VI and VIII. The pieces may lack somewhat in contrapuntal complexity (too dense and fusty for the galant tastes of mid-18th-century Londoners), but their felicitous character and kaleidoscopic variety make for fair compensation. We have Meyerson to thank for dusting off this trove of lovely gems which contributes significantly to our understanding of the soundscape of Georgian England - certainly no 'land without music.' Kate Bolton-Porciatti

Performance: Five stars
Sound: Five stars

Galley Jones, R. International Record Review
GCD921806 SH

R. Jones New
Chamber Airs for a Violin (and Thorough Bass).
Sonatas – No. 1 in D; No. 2 in C minor; No. 3 in G; No. 4 in A minor; No. 5 in E; No. 6 in B flat; No. 7 in E minor; No. 8 in A.
Kreeta-Maria Kentala (violins)
Lauri Pulakka (cello)
Mitzi Meyerson (harpsichord).
Glossa GCD921806 (full price, 1 hour 6 minutes).
Website Producer/Engineer
Maria Suschke. Date May 2011.

During the eighteenth century England welcomed many composers of international standing, but none greater, or who stayed longer, than George Frideric Handel. In fact he’s still very much with us, so much so that the popularity of his music has tended to overshadow the achievements of our own native composers. It wasn’t like this in the eighteenth century, though. Handel’s fame and influence benefited everyone. He generated a new wave of enthusiasm for music in the country, especially amongst the emerging middle classes; and English musicians were quick to take advantage. Men like Richard Jones (?-1744), who carved out a lucrative career as the leader of several London orchestras and sold a good deal of his own music to amateurs and professionals alike.

Jones is an excellent example of the independence of mind shown by many native English composers. He had no interest in slavishly imitating Handel, but genuinely had his own voice and quite separate interests. His two major publications of instrumental music bear this out convincingly. His Suits or Lessons for the Harpsichord of 1732 are delightfully cosmopolitan, full of tricky Scarlattian turns of phrase, echoes of Purcell, and fired by the restless unpredictability of Jones’s own imagination. The Chamber Airs for a Violin – recorded here – followed about three years later and are perhaps even more personal in style, leaving a record of Jones’s own brilliance as a virtuoso fiddler.

The Chamber Airs consist of eight sonatas for violin and continuo in either three or four movements, with all but one introduced by a mercurial 'Preludio'. The most striking feature of the violin writing is its advanced technique. So, there’s plenty of double-stopping (two-note chords), wide leaps and figuration which traverses the strings. Five of the Preludes contain written-out cadenza-like passages, which is probably what Jones was referring to on the title page when he wrote that the Preludes were 'chiefly in the grace manner'. More personal elements of Jones's style include unusually active bass lines which often conduct proper conversations with the violin; there are also piquant harmonies, unexpected phrase lengths and a cosmopolitan breadth of styles.

Most of all I have enjoyed the wit of Jones’s melodic style in the finales (often marked Gigg or the Italian Giga). In the B-flat Sonata, for example, the simple English outlines of the melody are gradually subjected to the Baroque sequential treatment: I hear it as the violinist drawing in the young or least-educated listeners with a good tune and then showing them what can really be done with it. The high drama of the opening movement of the C-minor Sonata could not be more different. The pointedly rhetorical playing of Kreeta-Maria Kentala pins us to our seats: can this really be music by a bewigged Georgian? The constant variety of the music keeps us on our toes throughout. I confess to having snoozed through a few discs of Baroque violin sonatas in my time, but here I found myself repeatedly reaching for the remote control to play tracks again.

We can also hear an almost orchestral sense of colour in the music, as if some of these pieces are arrangements of Jones’s (now lost) orchestral music. The players here are especially sensitive to these hints in the music and are not afraid of dramatizing them: ’We tried to accentuate all these things in order to create a wide palette of sound colours and emotions, ranging from the most intimate love duet to the wild tragedy of a Greek drama.’ Occasionally this seems to involve a few liberties, as in the Largo of the A-major set, which they play as a whispered love duet between violin and cello, with the continuo suppressed; there’s also a lot of pizzicato in the Largo of the C-minor Sonata, for example, and it’s not clear if this is editorial or original. No matter, the playing is utterly captivating, from the micro-tuning and varied attack of Kentala’s violin to the theatricality of Mitzi Meyerson’s continuo realizations which draw on her experience of recording Jones’s six harpsichord suites (a revelation on Glossa, described as ’Outstanding’ in Andrew O’Connor’s review in October 2010).

’Dicky’ Jones (as the eighteenth-century music historian John Hawkins referred to him) clearly had a sparkling musical personality and he’s found ideal interpreters in the charismatic ’Jones Band’ (as the players here informally call themselves). Very vividly recorded, as befits the music. A rare and exquisite find.

Simon Heighes


[T]his recording is a tour de force by one of today′s great harpsichordists."

International Record Review
GCD921801 Bohm



Obwohl die Cembalomusik des praktisch vollkommen unbekannten englischen Barockmeisters Richard Jones von sehr hoher Qualität ist – einzigartig wird diese Platte doch vor allem durch die Interpretin Mitzi Meyerson. Die amerikanische Cembalistin, ist nicht nur ein hochvirtuoses, vor Spielphantasie überbordendes Temperamentbündel, nein, ihr gelingt sogar das Kunststück, jeden einzelnen Satz von Anfang bis zum Schluss mit Energie zu durchströmen und dieses nie nachlassende Aufmerksamkeitsniveau über jede der einzelnen der sechs Suiten, ja, sogar über die gesamte Sammlung hinweg aufrecht zu erhalten.

Die Kompositionen sind gut, wirklich gut; sie können in jeder Beziehung mit dem Superstar Händel mithalten. Und wenn sich ihrer dann eine solche Ausnahmecembalistin wie Mitzi Meyerson widmet, dann ist der Erfolg vorprogrammiert. Hier kommt eben alles zusammen, geniale Komposition und eine ebensolche Ausführung, voller Leben, voller Spielwitz, mutig, nonkonformistisch und immer spannend!
TOCCATA 9/10 2010

"Was muss es für eine Lust sein, Cembalo zu spielen:
Mitzi Meyerson zelebriert Jones mit Selbstbewusstsein und Esprit, mit hörbarer Freude am genüßlichen Auskosten virtuoser Effekte und nicht zuletzt mit einer liebevoll ausgeklügelten, feinfühligen Registrierung des für die Aufnahme ausgewählten Cembalos, eines Nachbaus eines epochentypischen englischen Instruments. So zieht unter ihren quirligen Händen ein ganzer, eigener Kosmos spätbarocker Cembalo-Musik herauf, der eines Meisters."
BR Klassik, 22.08.2010

In Deutschland herrscht verbreitet der Eindruck, dass Händel das Londoner Musikleben vollkommen dominiert hätte und sich neben ihm kaum noch originelle Komponistenpersönlichkeiten behaupten konnten. Die stets entdeckungsfreudige amerikanische Cembalistin Mitzi Meyerson beweist uns mit den 1732 gedruckten Cembalosuiten von Richard Jones (unbek. - 1744), dass es in London sehr wohl noch weitere interessante Komponisten gab, die Händel das Wasser reichen konnten. Jones’ Suiten sind nicht nur äußerst virtuos, sie lassen auch durch ebenso eigenwillige wie originelle formale Lösungen und melodische Einfälle aufhorchen. Schön, dass es im Bereich der Alten Musik nach wie vor Hörenswertes zu entdecken gibt.

Cembalistischer Volltreffer "Lessons for the Harpsichord" von Richard Jones
Die Kostprobe vom 22.08.2010
Von Andreas Grabner

Stand: 17.08.2010
CD-Cover: "Lessons for the Harpsichord" von Richard Jones | Bild: Glossa
Bild vergrössern Bildunterschrift: "Lessons for the Harpsichord"

Richard Jones: Nein, zunächst einmal wirklich kein Name, von dem man als Alte-Musik-Liebhaber der Meinung wäre, dass er einem irgend etwas sagen müssen müsste. Wenn allerdings die Cembalistin Mitzi Meyerson diesem Komponisten gleich ein Doppel-CD widmet und darauf Jones’ 1732 in London im Druck erschienene "Suits or Setts of Lessons for the Harpsichord or Spinnet" ganz einspielt, dann lohnt es sich, aufzuhorchen: Denn was die amerikanische, in Berlin unterrichtende Künstlerin in letzter Zeit für ihr Instrument ausgegraben und auf CD veröffentlicht hat, war ohne Ausnahme faszinierende Musik, seien die Namen ihrer Komponisten auch noch so scheinbar spurlos in der musikhistorischen Versenkung verschwunden: Cembalosuiten etwa des Bach-Zeitgenossen Georg Böhm, reizvolle Charakterstücke des französischen Spätestbarock-Komponisten Claude-Benigne Balbastre oder die "Componimenti Musicali" des Wiener Hof-Organisten Gottlieb Muffat, die es an Qualität ohne weiteres mit der Cembalo-Musik Händels aufnehmen können. Nun also ein ominöser Richard Jones, geboren irgendwann in England, gestorben 1740 in London, von dem man fast nichts weiß, von dem nicht viel mehr erhalten ist als ein paar Opern-Arien im Klavierauszug, zwei Sammlungen von Violin-Musik und eben sechs Suiten, genannt "Lessons", für Cembalo. Und tatsächlich: Ms. Meyerson landet wieder einen Volltreffer. Ein Kosmos spätbarocker Cembalo-Musik

Jones' Musik hat nicht die metaphysische Sehnsucht etwa der Cembalomusik Johann Sebastian Bachs, und nicht die lautere Eleganz der Georg Friedrich Händels. Sein feuriges Temperament bevorzugt oft die kraftvoll-kantigen Linien. Fast könnte die mehr oder minder latente Wildheit dieser Musik in einem positiven Sinn "primitiv" wirken, wären da nicht ein sicheres Formgefühl, das ihre überbordende Phantastik, ihre unablässig hervorsprudelnden Einfälle bändigt und auf geordnete Bahn bringt. Es bleiben der unvorhersehbaren Wendungen, der Geistesblitze genug. Was muss es für eine Lust sein, Cembalo zu spielen: Mitzi Meyerson zelebriert Jones mit Selbstbewusstsein und Esprit, mit hörbarer Freude am genüßlichen Auskosten virtuoser Effekte und nicht zuletzt mit einer liebevoll ausgeklügelten, feinfühligen Registrierung des für die Aufnahme ausgewählten Cembalos, eines Nachbaus eines epochentypischen englischen Instruments. So zieht unter ihren quirligen Händen ein ganzer, eigener Kosmos spätbarocker Cembalo-Musik herauf, der eines Meisters.

Lessons for the Harpsichord von Richard Jones

Richard Jones: Set of Lessons for the Harpsichord, London, 1732
Mitzi Meyerson, Cembalo
Glossa GCD 921805, LC 00690

Johann Sebastian Bach kammermusikalisch und konzertant

Paolo Pandolfi und Mitzi Meyerson setzten am Samstag den Konzertreigen mit Barockmusik für Viola da Gamba und Cembalo fort. Zum Auftakt erklang Johann Sebastian Bachs Sonate g-Moll BWV 1029, ein ganz am italienischen Vorbild orientiertes Werk. Pandolfi und Meyerson gestalteten die Ecksätze als hochvirtuose, galante Konversation zwischen den beiden Instrumenten. Im zweiten Satz (Adagio) ließ Pandolfi seine Gambe quasi eine ins Unendliche strebende Kantilene singen. Der italienische Gambist, zurzeit sicherlich einer der herausragenden Vertreter seines Fachs, pflegt ein extrovertiertes Spiel mit großen dynamischen Kontrasten. Er beherrscht die ganze Palette des musikalischen Ausdrucks nahezu perfekt. Mit seiner Interpretation von Stücken Carl Friedrich Abels aus dem so genannten "Drexel"-Manuskript zog er mit seinem sensiblen Instrument die Zuhörer förmlich in seinen Bann. Mitzi Meyerson eröffnete anschließend die so ganz andere Welt des französischen Barock und zeigte sich am Beispiel von Jean-Henri d'Angleberts Suite g-Moll für Cembalo als versierte Sachwalterin dieses Repertoires. Musik von Marin Marais - ein Prélude aus dem 3. Buch der Pièces de Viole und "Le Labyrinthe", eine kuriose Programmmusik aus der Suite d'un Goût Etranger (4. Buch der Pièces de Viole ) - bildete den Abschluss einer eindrucksvollen Matinée, in der Paolo Pandolfi und Mitzi Meyerson die Messlatte für den weiteren Festivalverlauf sehr hoch legten.

Glossa GCD 921803 [2 CDs]

Here is a compelling double CD of the music of Claude-Béninge Balbastre (1722-1799), a famous organist/composer who flourished in France prior to the Revolution; ′the leading keyboard teacher to the nobles and other elite′. His organ concertos have been lost, and his artistic life went into decline under the new regime. Impoverished in his last decade, he was forced to play his arrangement of Les Marseillaise, a version of which concludes Mitzi Meyerson′s selection, on the deconsecrated organ of Notre-Dame.

The pieces here give a vivid picture of the music heard at the Salons, which were a focus for intelligent discource and new ideas; the illustration is of one such gathering being addressed by Voltaire.

Meyerson is a passionate scholar and performer; her interview about this project makes for absorbing reading. Balbastre had ′a persistent interest in the metamorphosis of keyboard instruments′ [Phillipe Braussant] and this recording illustrates the road which led from harpsichord to the fast-developing fortepiano; he adopted the fortepiano and even owned a composite piano forte organisé.

Mitzi Meyerson, better known as a harpsichordist, was captivated by the Broadwood piano (London, 1792) heard here and tells us how her delight with its sonorities led to her making these recordings; she experienced "withdrawal pangs" when the instrument had to be returned to its owner, and subsequently bought another Broadwood which needed a year or more′s restoration work to make it playable. Between times, she confesses, she returned to the modern grand piano for a time…

Unusually, in these discs Mitzi Meyerson alternates the two instruments, choosing the pieces carefully for their suitability for one or other; e.g. La Sultane needed harpsichord to build up the sonorities, but those with Alberti-bass demanded the piano, sounding ′too clattery′ on the harpsichord.

For the listener, Meyerson′s grouping and juxtapositions of the two instruments helps significantly in hearing the music to best advantage and maintaining concentration. A rewarding musical journey to share with her.

Presentation is lavish, with two well-filled booklets.

Warmly recommended, if you can find it…

Peter Grahame Woolf

Bach knew a good thing when he heard it and Georg Böhm was one. Based in Luneburg (where Bach was, to all intents and purposes, a sixth-former at St Michael′s School), Böhm had mastered the flamboyant keyboard styles prevalent in northern Germany while taking a particular interest in adapting French keyboard sensibility and technique to the high emotional stakes beloved of Germans. These discs are, above all, a celebration of sonority; you notice this in Böhm′s splendid organ music too, where his command of the textural impact of strong harmonic movement has as much to offer as the actual progressions themselves.

Mitzi Meyerson brings considerable colour and suavity to these 11 Suites and the miscellaneous ′triptych′ piece, the very original ′scena′, Prelude, Fugue and Postlude (which Schumann described as an ′eerie caprice′). Playing on a responsive and lyrical 1998 double-manual harpsichord by Keith Hill, Meyerson homes in on the essential Affekt of each prelude and treads a fine line between those occasions when the specific dance is to be articulated and when it′s plainly a servant to another expressive end. She′s especially successful in the movements requiring incisive execution and portentous nobility. She does Böhm a great service here, and reminds us why Bach justly rated him in the top division of senior contemporaries.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Eureka! I′ve known these wonderful pieces for years, having bought an old edition of the music, but have never heard them properly performed. So it′s a joy to hear Mitzi Meyerson′s glorious realisation of these 18th-century suites, which lie at the heart of the high baroque style: here are expressive allemandes, supremely inventive preludes, plus quirky rigaudons that Handel copied, ending with a virtuosic rendering of the Ciaconna with 30 variations that surely lies behind Bach′s Goldberg Variations. Rich and resonant harpsichord sound, well recorded.

Nicholas Kenyon, The Observer

Mitzi Meyerson gives splendid performances. She is well aware of the character of every single piece and expresses their character eloquently. The use of 'notes inegales' is very subtle, as it should be.

This is an exemplary production: some of the finest music Couperin has ever written, excellent performance and recording, a beautiful instrument .Every reason to recommend this disc.

Johan van Veen

GOTTLIEB MUFFAT: Componimenti Musicali per Il Cembalo (Musical Components) (complete) - Mitzi Meyerson, harpsichord - Glossa CD 921804 (2 CDs) 72:21, 77:46 [Distr. by Qualiton]:

What a delightful unfamiliar collection of harpsichord pieces! Dating from about 1736, they are the product of a composer who was devoted primarily to creating music for the keyboard. Muffat had a long life as a musician in the Imperial Court in Vienna, dying in 1770. He also spent six years in Paris and was in contact with Lully. Gottlieb was a son of the much better-known Georg Muffat. Harpsichordist Mitzi Meyerson - who performs on a rich-sounding copy by Keith Hill of a Taskin double-manual instrument - has sought out previous harpsichord collections out of the mainstream. She has previously released complete recordings of suites of Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer and Georg Böhm.

Meyerson was struck by the wildly inclusive universe of different devices and national styles which Muffat covered in his set of seven suites in the collection - reworking them into his own highly individual style. She feels it is like a brand-new music in its assimilation of Italian toccatas, French overtures, German fugues, English hornpipes, and all sorts of dances, improvisations and character pieces. Meyerson also states that there is nothing else quite like the Musical Components in keyboard literature. The suites are not arranged in chronological order; some have as many as nine movements and the last one has only one - a grand Chaconne. Muffat does not slavishly follow all the rules in composing at the time; his unorthodox pieces are full of unexpected twists and turns. Some sound like highly-ornamented French harpsichord music, others in the Italian style, and yet others in a more staid Germanic approach.

Time doesn't permit listing all the suite titles, but most are in the French tradition, such as Courante, Rigaudon Bizarre (!), La Coquette, and Gigue. Meyerson doesn't lay on the full French level of ornamentation, adding it judiciously just when it seems to provide more interest in repeats and some empty-sounding sections. The recording, made in Berlin, is of the highest quality, and the notes are more enjoyable reading than most notes for recordings of this type.

Altogether a gem of a collection for all early keyboard music fans. (And with a title that translates as it does, it should appeal strongly to audiophiles!)

John Sunier

Componimenti Musicali per il Cembalo Mitzi Meyerson (harpsichord) (Glossa GCD 921804)

Eureka! I've known these wonderful pieces for years, having bought an old edition of the music, but have never heard them properly performed. So it's a joy to hear Mitzi Meyerson's glorious realisation of these 18th-century suites, which lie at the heart of the high baroque style: here are expressive allemandes, supremely inventive preludes, plus quirky rigaudons that Handel copied, ending with a virtuosic rendering of the Ciaconna with 30 variations that surely lies behind Bach's Goldberg Variations. Rich and resonant harpsichord sound, well recorded.

Nicolas Kenyon
The Observer, October 2009

Gottlieb Muffat: Componimenti Musicali per Il Cembalo
Album: Gottlieb Muffat: Componimenti Musicali per Il Cembalo
Label: Glossa
Source: AMG

Gottlieb Muffat was a son of Georg Muffat, whose organ and orchestral works played an important role in introducing international styles into the German tradition. The younger Muffat's works have just begun to emerge from archives; the present collection of suites was discovered in manuscript by the American-German harpsichordist Mitzi Meyerson, who makes a superb case for them here.

The booklet notes are in the form of an interview with the performer, which is commended to all who want to sharpen their ears for the abundant genre of the Baroque keyboard suite. Meyerson's enthusiasm is contagious, both verbally and at the keyboard. Her main point is that Muffat, who went east from his father's Salzburg home base and became court organist in Vienna in the middle of the eighteenth century, was, like his father, a sort of sampler-of-all-styles who tried to take listeners on a kind of musical adventure.

The two discs here contain six suites for keyboard, plus a seventh work designated as a suite but containing simply a chaconne. In their outward sequences of allemandes, courantes, sarabandes, and so on, they look conventional, but when you get inside the individual movements you find unexpected contrasts and surprise effects heightened by Meyerson's unusual registrations on the harpsichord (listen to the very end of the trio of the Menuet of the fifth suite, track 7, and try to figure out how she does what she does -- she isn't telling).

All the opening movements are interesting; several contain fugues (which don't appear much elsewhere in the French-style repertory), and the opening Fantasie of Suite III repeatedly feints toward a chaconne bass before erupting into figuration and beginning to move more rapidly. The music is brilliant, imaginative, and a bit evocative of a hothouse court atmosphere -- as if Rameau had somehow been transplanted, perhaps, from theoretical Paris to then-staid Vienna.

It's a major find, and the two-manual harpsichord by the iconoclastic Michigan builder Keith Hill is unusually well-suited to this music. Throw in the nifty list of Muffat themes borrowed by no less than Handel, along with very pleasing graphic design from the Glossa label (check out the interior rendering of Meyerson in lips and colored leaves), and you have all the ingredients of a real Baroque find.

Notes are in English, French, German, and Spanish.

James Manheim, All Music Guide

Meyerson believes Muffat has been an overlooked and underplayed composer for too long, indeed it was only her avid score-reading habit which led her to discover these pieces afresh. The CD presents the work of a composer who gave his lessons with a twinkle in his eye being revived by a musician who invests it with invention, wit and dollops of good humour.

The notes conclude "And so at last we make a toast to Theofilo Muffat, wherever he may be: Bravo, Maestro!", let's add Mitzi Meyerson to that toast.

Brendan Gardiner, Ferraro Journal

Gottlieb Muffat emerges from this recording as a keyboard composer of range and substance, worthy of investigation by a harpsichordist who has already brought us rewarding discs of such neglected masters as Fischer and Böhm. The overall impression is of Handelian robustness, though Muffat has a manner of his own, more buoyant, more varied, and with an impish ense of humour. At least, that is how it sounds at the hands of Meyerson, whose musicianship has long been distinguished by bubbling but controlled energy and irreverent playfulness. The rollickng momentum she can generate in the fast gigues or the Ciaconna is irresistible. A disc full of fun and life.

Gramophone Magazine, Lindsay Kemp



Das ist frische, sehr abwechslungsreiche, italienisch inspirierte Musik - und die Cembalistin Mitzi Meyerson tut alles, dass diese sechs Suiten wie ein süffiger, edler Prosecco klingen.

Rheinische Post 18.04.2009

Mitzi Meyerson entfacht da ein wahres Cembalo-Feuerwerk - für mich wieder einmal eine Entdeckung, die mich richtig mitgerissen hat. Die Erkundung dieser Musik lohnt - vor allem dann, wenn sie so virtuos und inspiriert interpretiert wird. Mitzi Meyerson entfacht da ein wahres Cembalo-Feuerwerk - für mich wieder einmal eine Entdeckung, die mich richtig mitgerissen hat.

Bettina Winkler, SWR 2, 7.5.2009

Ganz sicher wird diese Aufnahme, wird Mitzy Meyerson mit ihrer mitreißenden Interpretationen des von ihr wiederentdeckten Gottlieb Muffat bei allen Cembalomusik-Begeisterten ein bleibender Platz in der Diskographie sicher sein.

Dieter David Scholz, SWR 2 "Neues vom Klassikmarkt", 9.5.2009

"Ein Juwel für die Sammlungen aller Freunde spätbarocker Cembalomusik!"

"Mitzi Meyerson spielt gewitzt, spannend und stets drängend. Und das ist auch das Positive und Extravagante dieser Einspielung - diese kindliche, manchmal spitzbübische Freude am Vortrag und an der Wiederherstellung des großen Komponisten."
TOCCATA, 7/8 2009

In gewisser Hinsicht kennen viele Musikliebhaber Themen und Motive Gottlieb Muffat (1690-1770), denn kein geringerer als Georg Friedrich Händel holte sich für mehrere seiner Werke der späten 1730er Jahre (darunter die Concerti grossi op.6) thematische Anregungen bei Muffats 1736 veröffentlichten Componimenti Musicali per il Cembalo. Beim Hören kann man sich also als musikalischer Detektiv betätigen oder einfach nur ausgesprochen gute Musik genießen, die von der famosen Mitzi Meyerson hier ebenso engagiert wie kenntnisreich vorgetragen wird.

Mitzi Meyerson has made a sterling reputation for herself as a specialist in the harpsichord literature. ... [It] is heartening to see Fischer's music noticed, and one can hope for more.

Barker, ARG


Highly charged with emotion, this music demands spirited, dramatic performances which make the most of its stylish decadence. These Mitzi Meyerson delivers with flair and finesse. In the D-major Suite she revels in the deliciously chromatic third section of "La Ferrand", the elaborate inner parts of "La Angrave" and the wonderfully bizarre harmony and cascading sequences in the concluding chaconne. She also beguiles her listeners with the tender "Tronchin" and the poised "Du Vaucel"; in "La Regente" she seems to evoke the spirit of Couperin's "Les Baricades misterieuses".

The variety of her playing fascinates: the deceptively simple theme of upward thirds in the D-major "La Eynaud", the C. P. E. Bach-ist "Jupiter" (with bizarre touches by Forqueray) and the infectious swagger of "La Boisson" in the C-minor Suite. Her intelligent attention to detail, so appreciated in "La Leon" and "La Silva", never overshadows her acute, if rather idiosyncratic, sense of timing, wonderfully evident in "La Montigni", a haunting rondeau reminiscentof Rameau's "La Livri".

Gramophone Magazine


Gottlieb Muffat: Componimenti Musicali per Il Cembalo
Componimenti Musicali per il Cembalo (Suites Pour Clavecin N°1-7)
GOTTLIEB MUFFAT: Componimenti Musicali per Il Cembalo

Mitzi Meyerson, die sich schon mehrfach als Anwätin unbekannterCembalomusik verdient gemacht hat, geht auch Muffats "Componimenti" mit leidenschaftlicher Verve und sprühender Musizierlaune an. Ihr Artikulation hat Biss, ihre rhythmischen Impulse besitzen die nötige Spannkraft, ihre Linienführung zeichnet sich durch Weitblick aus, und die Charaktere der einzelnen Sätze arbeitet sie durchweg individuell heraus. So ist dies eine rundum willkommene Repertoirebereicherung.

FONO FORUM Magazine, Matthias Hengelbrock, August 2009

Georg Böhm
Complete Suites
(2 discs)
(Glossa) GCD 921801
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik

A favourite composer of J. S. Bach's, the harpsichord oeuvre of Georg Böhm (1661–1733), dating most probably from the last years of the 17th century, remains little known and this is the first complete recording of his suites. There is variety and individuality and the exhumation is amply warranted.

The Prelude, Fugue & Postlude is an arresting starter; the Prelude unique and hypnotic, with a single bass note mercilessly repeated under changing harmony (c.f. Chopin's 'raindrop' Prelude), the whole work finishing with a grand Adagio - "the poet speaks, the moral of the story", says Mitzi Meyerson in an illuminating interview. A magnum opus, 8 mins duration; a precursor of Franck's triptychs, one might think.

The suites mostly have four short movements, a prelude or allemande, courante, sarabande and gigue, with some variants. They encompass the whole range of national styles, a prelude like Froberger's, suites indistinguishable from Buxtehude's, a large suite in the French style, with Ouverture and a Chaconne to end separated by dances that could have come from a Purcell opera. The two discs are organised for listening pleasure if heard straight through, with "neighbour keys you could listen to withoutbeing shocked". Mitzi Meyerson is particularly taken with some elusive pieces which are "more descriptions of harmony as opposed to melody with accompaniment", seemingly improvisational music with a "dreamy stream-of-consciousness" feeling, but actually notated strictly.

As experienced in her London recital, Mitzi Meyerson displays an extraordinary sensitivity to the nuances possible from a fine harpsichord (a Keith Hill copy of a Taskin instrument in Edinburgh) and she explains the many things involved in achieving colour and dynamic variety from plucked strings. Sympathetically recorded at Siemensvilla, Berlin March 2003, the production is lavish, with a second booklet containing notes on Georg Böhm's life and works, and full track to help radio programmers!


Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer
The Daughters of Zeus

Musicalischer Parnassus (MDG)
honoured with the Diapason d’or

The recordings of William Christie, Luc Beausejour or Siegbert Rampe do not prepare you for the fascinating monument which Mitzi Meyerson’s fingers allow you to discover. This allegorical cycle, is somewhere between the programme sonatas of Kuhnau and the forma und spiritual accomplishments of the Goldberg Variations. The cycle seems anecdotal and its 40 dance movements are as decorative as they are inspiring.

As Pygmalion Mitzi Meyerson portrays each suite with vitality, precision, sensitivity and taste, so that the Muses appear and evolve into a magnificent ballet. The harpsichordist uncovers the mysteries of an "Errato" untouchable, as if covered with a thousand veils. The touches of humour of Polymnia, furious, perplexed, resolute and then jubilant, evoking a smile and even the "Bourrée a priori" insignificant "Euterpe" proves to be an irresistible movement with a gripping characteristic , similar to the "chaconne" which follows with regal, orchestral imagination.
Magnified by the staggering virtuosity and incredible fantasy, the Fischer cycle glitters with a thousand details, delightful, with bright colour and contrast but always harmonious, like a Flemish allegory of the 17. century.

The "tour de force" of the harpsichordist reflects that of the composer, who, in creating a painting of Parnassus, produces a breathtaking encyclopedia of effects and rhetorical figures. There are a few rate interpretations which completely change one’s perception of a composition.... The musical Parnassus of Mitzi Meyerson is a striking example of these.

Gaëtan Naulleau, Diapason

Mitzi Meyerson is an enthusiastic champion of these little-known gems and plays with such enthusiasm that it’s hard not to be won over.

Simon Heighes, International Record Review

The German-based American harsichordist Mitzi Meyerson is an ideal interpreter of this music and consistently displays both a superb technique and a persuasive musicality. Her flexibly nuanced playing never fails to be sensitive to the character if each individual movement, and thus it succeeds in conveying the variety and scope of this encyclopedic work. An aesthetic experience of the first order awaits the listener of this new recording.

Early Music America

Harpsichordist Mitzi Meyerson chose music by Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer..... These are rewarding pieces, skilfully crafted und admirably varied in character. Meyerson does justice to them in a recital full of esprit....

BBC Music Magazine

Mitzi Meyerson has thrown herself into the spirit of this music with commendable zeal and with an authoritative stylistic aplomb. As I have already implied, the music is immediately and, in many instances, irresistibly alluring. Some readers will recognise the splendid Passacaglia which concludes the Ninth Suite (Urania) It’s been a favourite with performers ever since Wanda Landowska recorded it with stentorian vigour half a century ago.

Nicholas Anderson, BBC Music Magazine

As shown by her discs of Duphly and Forqueray, Meyerson is an expressive and subtle harpsichordist. Through her lively articulation and refined rhythmic sense, she fills each movement with countless expressive details. Her Erato is veiled and mysterious, her Polymnia rages and exults by turns and her impeccable rendition of Urania' s Passacaglia brings the disc to a staggeringly virtuosic close.

Christopher Price, Goldberg Nr.16

Mitzi Meyerson possesses a great variety of articulation and can phrase with a wonderful clarity. She makes the harpsichord "sing" a rare and precious gift which few keyboard artists have. She is capable of lyricism and poetry und also knows how to give character to the music. The recording the best rendering of harpsichord sound I have ever heard. It has great clarity despite the large space, nothing percussive, only fullness and spaciousness, absolutely extraordinary.

Diana Petech, Audio Review 207

Jacques Duphly
Pièces de Clavecin

(MDG 605 1068-2)

. . . Meyerson's responsive impulses and supple technique are enlivening qualities which bring allure to Duphly's graceful art.

Nicholas Kenyon, BBC Music Magazine

[compared with the recital of Katherine Roberts Perl], Meyerson is rather more extrovert, with generally faster tempi, a crisper touch und a greater willingness to introduce wit from time to time.

David Hansell, Early Music Review

Dass die Spielerin mit vornehmer Distanz nichts im Sinn hat, wird vom ersten Ton an klar: Beschwingt marschiert die Chaconne in F (3.Buch), Bässe federn, Triller rauschen, Melodien schwelgen. Von virtuosen Passagen bis zum wehleidigen Moll-Teil wird alles beherzt angepackt...Das heißt nicht, dass Feinheiten verloren gehen - kein Arpeggio, kein Ornament gleicht dem anderen. ...Wie ein Gewitter brechen die rasenden Arpeggien des letzten Cozulets in das elegische rondeau... ein. Médée, Zauberin und Kindesmörderin, wütet mit hämmernden Bässen und roht mit ausgedehnten Fermaten. Der Hofnarr Triboulet hopst und dreht sich in feinsten Nuancen der Artikulation und mit organischen Ritardandi...

Christine Lanz, Concerto

Die Berliner Cembalistin Mitzi Meyerson gewinnt diesen leicht zu unterschätzenden Miniaturen dank ihres unvergleichlichen dynamischen, rhythmisch-metrischen und klangfarblichen Gestaltungsvermögens ungeahnte philosophische Dimensionen ab. Formale Komplexität, Widersprüchlichkeit, heiße Leidenschaften und das Raffinement ihrer beispielslosen Verzierungskunst machen ihre Auswahl zum Vergnügen für Hirn und Herz.

Boris Kehrmann

Antoine Forqueray
Pièces de viole mises an pièces de Clavecin
(MDG 605 1101-2)

Mitzi Meyerson variiert das riesige Arsenal dieser Figuren durch rhythmische, artikulatorische, dynamische und agogische Nuancen von einer Leichtigkeit, dass man ihr staunend durch das Spiegelkabinett feinster Gefühlsabstufungen, Variationen und Wiederaufnahmen folgt. Das ist Rokoko von seiner raffiniertesten Seite. Die Referenzaufnahme!

Boris Kehrmann

To put it simply, Mitzi Meyerson is one of the finest harpsichordists in the world. Rarely does one hear harpsichord playing of such exressive range. Brilliantly molding texture and tempo, Meyerson humanized passages that would seem mecahnical in other hands . . . unforgettable.

The Oregonian, USA

Musical elegance and subtle sensuality of style . . . the music shone and glittered.

New York Times, USA

What I admire about this artist is her total control over the music. She fills the hall with a dreamlike atmosphere.

Vaster-hottens Kuriren, Sweden

Aussergewoehnlich wirkte das musikalische Niveau der exzellenten Truppe um Mitzi meyerson-The Bottom Line. Insgesamt faellt bei diesen Kuenstlern sofort ein sehr variabler Spielgestus auf, eine alles ungemein belebnde Agogik, eine federleichte Brillianz

Tagespiegel, Berlin

Unquestionably, the best of our four Lufthanza events was the American harpsichordist, Mitzi Meyerson's recital at Wallace Collection.

Blissful to watch close by this fine performer, her posture relaxed, movements economical and flexible, the complex ornaments thrown off with complete ease and insouicance.

This was an hour of sheer delight, which had the audience hanging on her every phrase of Couperin, notes inegales natural and unmannered, rubato akin to a Pachmann in Chopin, with rallentandos which in other hands might seem excessive. To end, the most brilliant of the music were Forqueray senior's viol pieces, transcribed by his son, and, to restore calm another lovely D'Anglebert prelude.

Lufthansa Festival, Peter Grahame Woolf / Musical Pointers

Die Blütenleserin / Mitzi Meyerson entführte in Altmorschen die Kultursommergäste ins goldene Zeitalter französischer Cembalomusik

MORSCHEN. "Ein kleines, süßes Menuett", sagt Mitzi Meyerson lächelnd als Zugabe an. Danach noch „eine kleine, süße Chaconne". Doch unter "der kleinen, süßen Oberfläche zu ihr sei auch der lauschige Engelssaal gezählt, vor langen Zeiten Schlafraum der Zisterziensernonnen liegen Tiefenschichten verborgen. „In mir fließt schwarzes Blut", gesteht also die amerikanische Cembalistin, prominente Musikerin des Kultursommerabends, zu dem sich mitten sus dem Alltag heraus ein Kennerpublikum im Obergeschoss des Altmorschen-Haydauer Klostergevierts versammelt hat.

Schwarzes, Blut, das meint Nachdenklichkeit, Tiefsinn, Schwermut. Das letzte Stück im rein französischen Programm, eine Suite von Antoine Forqueray, bewegt sich sechs Sätze lang nur durch tiefdunlkle Klangregionen. Womöglich leitete die„ Clavecinisten" (französisch clavecin = Cembalo) dorthin der Gedanke, dass ihnen im leichthändigen Fingerspiel, im Glitzerklang ihres Instruments, im Ebenmaß der Suiten folgen die Zeit, ja das Leben zerrinnt. Philosophieren, hat ein denkender Zeitgenosse der Musiker Couperin, d'Anglebert, Balbastre und Forqueray gesagt, heißt sterben lernen. Musizieren vielleicht auch? Oder besser den Augenblick für die Ewigkeit nutzen?

Dieses „Sub specie aeternitatis", dies es „Memento mori" versinnlicht Mitzi Meyerson auf ihre unnachahmliche Weise einer leisen Exzentrik. Es tönt in einem fort, beinahe zeitlos, und wandelt sich doch unmerklich zu immer neuer Gestalt. Es war ursprünglich Musik zur Unterhaltung der Könige (Ludwigs XIV, und Ludwigs XV. im 17./18. Jahrhundert) und wird unvermutet zum weit verzweigten klingenden Gedankengebäude zwischen den bizarr schweifenden, taktstrichlos notierten Préludes und den fest schreitenden, das Tönematerial ordnenden und verfugenden Passecaillen. Mittendrin die Tanz- und Charaktersätze als fein dosierte Bewegungs- und Empfindungsstimulanzien.

Wie sie ale Phrasen zerlegt und neu zusammensetzt, das Verzierungsvokabular als tragende Substanz in den Satzfluss flicht, so zu übergreifen der Werkentfaltung gelangt, das zeichnet diese Nur-Solistin, eine der wenigen weltweit auf ihrem Instrument, als souveräne Gedankenspielerin aus. Als geschmackvolle Blütenleserin auch, um ein Bild des Cembalobauers Jürgen Ammer weiterzuführen, der hier seinen Nachbau eines Originals von Pascal Taskin (Paris 1789) vorstellte.

Blumenmalerei schmückt die Resonanzböden aller historischen Cembali, Blumen, eine Gabe des Himmels wie die Musik. Wie ein erfüllter Augenblick auch, ein kluger, inspirierender, uns der Ewigkeit näher bringender Gedanke.

Siegfried Weyh, Hessische Allgemeine 22.7.2005

Konzerthaus Berlin
Paolo Pandolfo/Mitzi Meyerson

Bach Gambe Sonaten ãNatŸrlich ist das ein herrlicher kammermusikalischer Dialog, den der Gro§meister Bach da hinterlassen hat. Und so wie die Cembalisten Mitzi Meyerson und Paolo Pandolfo im Rahmen der V. Biennale Alte Musik fŸhrten, war ein Genuss pur. Ein Harmonieren und Parlieren, ein Schmeicheln und Duellieren mit feinsten Spitzen. Musikalische Konversation gehobener Klasse, voller Lust an Ironie, Sprachwitz und Ÿberraschenden Wendungen. Mitzi Meyerson gab mit angenehm weich klingendem Anschlag den SouverŠan in diesem Dialog, warmherzig, aber treffsicher immer wieder das ãGesprŠchÒ aufs Neue entfachend. Pandolfo reagierte mit galantem Ton, mit Lust auf einen herrlichen und farbenreichen Dialog mit einer bestens aufgelegten Mitzi Meyerson einlassen.

April 2010, Dirk Becker

Mitzi Meyerson, die von Berlin aus die Tastenwelt mit immer neuen Entdeckungen beglückende Amerikanerin, gewährt fantastische Einblicke in diese Klangzauberschachtel: Vollendete Artikulation, Agogik, Anpassung, Affektgestik lauter Liebeserklärungen an die tönende Intimität als Kommunikationsraum. Bis die leicht von der Tastatur aufschwebenden Hände den Zauber verfliegen lassen.

Von Siegfried Weyh, Göttingen Händel-Festspiel, May 12, 2005

[T]he concert would have been only half as enjoyable without Mitzi Meyerson playing the harpsichord. With exquisitely rhythmic playing, she created a crystal-clear structure. ... Above all else, Mitzi Meyerson astonished everyone with her incredibly dramatic und dynamic interpretation of Balbastre’s pieces for solo harpsichord.

Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin

[Mitzi Meyerson] played a French double-manual with a big sound, and she has the expressive capabilities to push it to extremes. Her performance of works by Marais' contemporary Antoine Forqueray were passionately delivered and well received.

Boston Herald

Mitzi Meyerson, a musician of intensely dramatic flair, exhibits the same combination of passion und judiciousness, as one may hear as well in her recordings of a variety of the harpsichord literature. In the background for much of the St. James concerts, she emerged as a stunning soloist in the performance of a suite arranged for harpsichord by Jean Baptiste-Antoine Forqueray from a selection of gamba pieces by his father. She understood the fundamental elements of theatricality, surprise, the grand gesture, the magnification of effect, which brand this music as quintessentially Baroque, for all its courtly shapeliness. The younger Forqueray’s arrangements are in themselves supremely idiomatic for the harpsichord, and Meyeson played them with a constantly renewed sense of delight and discovery and an especially invogorating freedom of rhythmic expression.

San Diego Reader