MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Christoph GRAUPNER (1683 - 1760)
Partitas for Harpsichord:
in A (GWV 149) [15:18]
in C minor (GWV 133) [16:17]
in A (GWV 149): Chaconne [9:44]
in F minor (GWV 121) [17:13]
Naoko Akutagawa (harpsichord)
rec. 3-5 December 2007, Convent Bronnbach in Wertheim, Germany. DDD
NAXOS 8.570459 [58:32]
Experience Classicsonline

Not long ago Christoph Graupner was little more than a name. He was mainly known for being one of the applicants for the position of Thomaskantor in Leipzig in succession to Johann Kuhnau. He was second on the town council’s list, and when the first, Georg Philipp Telemann, was not available after all, they turned to Graupner. His employer, the Landgrave of Hessen-Darmstadt, didn't want to let him go, and therefore Leipzig had to settle for - as it was called - 'mediocrity' in the person of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Some of Graupner's music has been recorded in the past, but it is only since the beginning of this century that some musicians have started to focus strongly on his oeuvre. The German conductor and keyboard player Siegbert Rampe recorded two discs of orchestral and chamber music with his ensemble Nova Stravaganza (MDG), and the Canadian harpsichordist Geneviève Soly is recording Graupner's keyboard music (Analekta). In his programme notes, Glen Wilson - himself a renowned harpsichordist and the former teacher of Naoko Akutagawa - refers to Graupner's "sterling reputation as a performer". A part of Graupner's keyboard music was published during his lifetime, but this disc mainly contains pieces which were never printed. And Wilson may be right in suggesting that the virtuosity of these pieces is such that they were mainly written for Graupner's own use.
The works here are called 'Partita' which is one of the terms used in Germany for a suite of dance movements. The standard structure of the suite was a sequence of allemande, courante, sarabande and gigue. But - like other composers - Graupner adapted the structure when he wanted. And so the Partita in A, which opens this disc, begins with a preludium, the sarabande - with double - is followed by a menuet and an aria with five variations, before closing with a gigue. Or rather, it does on this disc: it really ends with a Chaconne which is played later. The Partita in c minor doesn't have a gigue at all; again it opens with a praeludium, and after the sarabande we find a menuet and another aria with variations. The disc ends with a Partita which was the first of a series of Partitas which was planned to be published as 'The Four Seasons', but only this Partita, called 'Winter', has come down to us. It is not known whether Graupner for some reason didn't continue with this series or whether the other pieces have been lost. This work also starts with a praeludium, followed by allemande and courante, three menuets, an 'air en sarabande' and is closed with a 'bourrée en rondeau'.
As with many composers in Germany Graupner, both in his keyboard works and his orchestral music, is a representative of the 'mixed taste', a combination of French and Italian elements. The preludes are especially interesting because of their almost improvisatory nature. All of them are in two sections: the preludes of the Partitas in C minor and F minor begin with a slow section, followed by a fast second section. The prelude of the Partita in A is in fact a prelude and fugue, and bears the traces of  the 'stylus phantasticus' which was a feature of the North-German organ school. Graupner is more interested in counterpoint than some of his contemporaries. This shows the influence of his teacher, Johann Kuhnau, who thoroughly instructed him in counterpoint.
Naoko Akutagawa shows her impressive technical skills in this programme of pieces which are often very virtuosic. That is not only the case in the preludes, which are played with the appropriate touch of improvisation, but also in the large Chaconne - probably one of the longest in the 18th century. It is another bow to tradition in that it is a passacaille bass but slightly extended. It was originally part of the Partita in A which opens this disc, but played here independently. Ms Akutagawa plays it brilliantly with an intensity which never fades. Other highlights are the air with variations which ends the Partita in C minor and the three menuets from the Partita in F minor. She has a very good sense of the rhythm of the dance movements: listen, for instance, to the courante from the Partita in A. Only the menuets of the Partitas in A and in C minor could have been played with a little more elegance; Ms Akutagawa's performance is a bit too robust to my taste.
I mentioned some highlights in this recording, but in fact that is hardly necessary as this disc is captivating from beginning to end. If you are sceptical about the quality of a composer whose name hardly ever appears on the concert programmes of keyboard players, just purchase this disc. I am sure it will convince you that Graupner was a great composer whose name deserves to be mentioned in one breath with the likes of Telemann, Fasch, and - indeed - Johann Sebastian Bach. And it wouldn't surprise me at all if you end up looking for more. Thanks to Naoko Akutagawa and her wonderful recording.
Johan van Veen

see also review by Glyn Pursglove



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.