It was a treat to hear two related double manual harpsichords from St Cecilia’s superb keyboard collection in Bach’s Double Concerto in C major.
Bach Keyboard Concertos: Concert 4, St Cecilia's Hall, Edinburgh * * * *
Andreas Staier played the 1769 Taskin while Christine Schornsheim sat at an instrument made in 1764 by Goermans which Taskin substantially altered some twenty years later.
The tonal blend of the two instruments was perfect with Schornsheim’s sharper articulation adding brightness in the quicker movements. Other than emphasising a phrase here or there in the outer movements, Bach didn’t write much for the Dunedin Consort string quartet especially in the harpsichord duet, a wonderfully decorated adagio.
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Schornsheim gave a lively account of the mercurial prelude from the English Suite No 4 in F major followed by the Keyboard Concerto in F minor. This featured a bed of soft pizzicato strings in the slow movement and there was a witty series of echoes in the presto, similar to the echo aria in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
After an understated account of the Fantasia in A minor, Staier applied more colour and vivacity to the quicker movements of the Keyboard Concerto in A major but the larghetto, a Siciliano, would have benefited from a slightly faster more dance-like quality.