ROSALINDE HAAS, now close to her 80s, recalls how – as a young student in Rome – she would drive her teacher and mentor absolutely mad: Every week she would arrive at her lesson with Maestro FERNANDO GERMANI, the then titular organist of St. Peter in Rome, ready to present yet another piece taken out of the bombastic romantic organ repertoire that she so loved (Max Reger and alike). But as a vivacious and bubbly 20 year old, she was utterly non-receptive to Maestro Germani’s repeated attempts to interest her in the subtleties of the early baroque music of GIROLAMO FRESCOBALDI (1553-1643), one of Maestro Germani’s early predecessors as titular organist of St. Peter, an eminent virtuoso and improviser in his own time.
60 years later, now retired from the show business of music making, Rosalinde Haas is revisiting her memories of Maestro Germani’s lessons on Frescobaldi, and is trying to make sense of his and her notes in Germani’s own edition of Frescobaldi’s music, on how to approach this extraordinary music. The recordings presented here are the result of many months of intense debates and exchanges with her husband, Peter Krams, an unforgiving critic of his wife’s gutsy approach to music making. The recordings were made on the weekend of Rosalinde Haas and Peter Krams’ golden wedding anniversary, on August 2nd, 2009, on three instruments in the privacy of their home: a Johannes Klais organ built in 1962, a Sperrhake pedal harpsichord built in 1963 and a Sperrhake clavichord built in 1984. Both Sperrhake instruments were built by the same craftsman, Herr Dorsch, to unusual user requirements: the clavichord is one of a kind: it has a range of six octaves, with only one string per note, so that you can modulate the sound maximally, and the ability to dampen the lower and/or upper part of the range, to produce a lute like sound.
Rosalinde Haas is NOT a traditionalist when playing anything, let alone playing the harpsichord or clavichord, and she is most definitely not a reverend interpreter of baroque music. What you get in her interpreting Frescobaldi, is insuppressible energy as if she was still the bubbly enfant terrible in her 20s, enhanced by the maturity of a musician of nearly 80 years.
This anthology of Frescobaldi’s music is a true “bouquet of flowers in music”: variations on the theme of “FIORI MUSICALI “: compare and contrast competing interpretations of the same piece on different instruments. But fitting for a couple celebrating its golden wedding anniversary, the opening statement is one where Peter Krams plays the basso ostinato notes on the organ, whilst Rosalinde Haas is attacking the clavichord, in Frescobaldi’s Toccata dal codice Chigiano (Biblioteca Vaticana) [Clavichord “Claviorganum”], as if there was no tomorrow.