Sir Thomas Beecham once described the harpsichord as sounding like “…two skeletons copulating on a corrugated tin roof”. To harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, the famed British conductor who compared Beethoven’s music to frolicking yaks, couldn’t have been more wrong.
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“If you buy only one record of harpsichord music in your life . . . buy this sensational album” wrote Richard Morrison, The Times (London). Although most of us don’t buy records anymore, this recently released album “Time Present and Time Past” including music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Francesco Geminiani, Henryk Górecki, Steve Reich and Alessandro Scarlatti could be worth checking out. Hear samples at deutschegrammophon.com
Esfahani sat down to talk with NPR about the new album. His sparring partner was All Things Considered host Robert Siegel: