Mstation Classical Reviews

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Sun, 06 Jul 2008

Virginal -Susann van Soldt

various, The Susanne van Soldt Virginal Book, Guy Penson, Ricercar

A virginal, in case you were wondering, is in this context at least, a musical instrument and was quite popular in the Low Countries at the time of the late Renaissance.

This very pleasant and quite sprightly CD is taken from a manuscript dated 1599 which belonged to Susanne van Soldt and consisted of an anthology of tunes of the time and which included a fair number of Psalms in Dutch.

The virginal sounds a bit like a thickened up harpsichord. This particular one is a "mother and child" which ingeniously incorporated a smaller instrument inside the larger one which extended the upper end of the instrument's reach. It is well played here by Guy Penson and the result is quite pleasing. (Baron K)

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