"Harpsichord Music for a Thin Place" CD gets a FOUR STAR review in Audiophile Audition

Audiophile Audition

A thoughtful program of 16 quieter, non-hackneyed and not melancholy harpsichord pieces.

Published on July 17, 2012

“Harpsichord Music for a Thin Place” – Paul Cienniwa – Whaling City Sound WCS 059, 66:00 [Distr. by Allegro] (5/8/12) ****:

This is a beautifully-recorded program of 16 more meditative and less familiar pieces for the harpsichord, which keyboardist Cienniwa envisions as being at the threshold between the ordinary and the spiritual—what he calls A Thin Place. His intent was to elevate the selections from the musical to a more spiritual place, and he made a special effort to favor pieces in major keys instead of minor, and avoided the more elegiac aspects.

Composers represented include Bach, Byrd, Couperin, Forqueray, Froberger, Rameau, Sweelinck and Bell. Mr. Cienniwa is organist, conductor and music director of Boston’s First Church and has a Dr. of Music Arts degree from Yale. The harpsichord is an authentic copy built in 1966 by the famed harpsichord builder William Dowd, and the recording was carefully miced with a pair of Schoeps mics and recorded directly to 96K/24bit with no gimmicks. The venue was an acoustically appropriate church in Massachusetts.

The various pieces seem to fit together like a glove even though they come from greatly disparate composers; I was struck by a couple of them and might be looking up the sheet music online to play on my harpsichord. The sonics are very precise and clean, not exaggerated as in some harpsichord recordings or annoying in the amount of mechanical noise transmitted. My only slight disappointment was that since the sonics are so exceptional it cannot be heard at the original 96K/24bit on a DVD instead of a standard CD.

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