The harpsichord became a dominant musical instrument during the XVII and XVIII centuries. In the next centuries it started to lose its position. Its short and dry sound was unsuited to the romantic aesthetic. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the XX century thanks to the renowned Polish performer, Wanda Landowska and she brought it to the attention of contemporary composers.
The following generations of creators took the instrument to their hearts for both solo and chamber works, a fact demonstrated by over 5000 compositions during the last 100 years. It is important to mention that a significant part of this repertoire has been created by Polish composers.
It is also worth noting that there are now many harpsichordists in the world today establishing their own widened repertoire, continuing the tradition of two famous Poles - Landowska and Chojnacka.
To these we must add the extraordinarily talented and original Goska Isphording, the star of this recording. For this recording she has used two different types of instrument - an historical copy (produced by von Nagel, 2001) and a modern pedal harpsichord (Neupert). The baroque copy made it possible to faithfully reproduce the vision of the composers who wished to write in the 'spirit of the period', returning to the delicate sounds of the old instruments (8', 8'', 4' dispositions and a lute stop). However the contemporary harpsichord doesn't have quite such a subtle sound but does have a broader palette as a result of the varied registers made available with the help of the pedals, as opposed to the baroque method of using hand operated jacks.
On this recording, "Per clavicembalo moderno" we find compositions by contemporary Polish composers for harpsichord and for harpsichord and tape. There are contributions by the older generation - W. Kotoński, Z. Bargielski, Z. Krauze, through the middle generation - M. Ptaszyńska, H. Kulenty, the younger generation - represented by M. Chyrzyński and W. Widłak, right to the youngest - A. Gryka. Some of the composers discarded the historical tradition and took on the sharp sound and wealth of the modern pedal instrument. In some of the other pieces they chose the simple colours of the baroque copy.
In closing it should be noted that the CD "Per clavicembalo moderno" released by PWM/DUX is the first collection of harpsichord compositions by Polish composers, firmly rooted in a near century of deep tradition.
Transl. Lindsay Davidson