Sunday, March 3, 2013

Prelude & Fugue in C minor BWV 847 – Chiara Massini

A happy Sunday to you friends! I have a fun series lined up for Early Music Sunday in March, & I feel sure you’re going to enjoy it.

If you search on YouTube, especially along lines that stray from the pop & rock hegemony, you can make some marvelous discoveries—in many ways, most of the content on this blog as it’s been configured for the past year or two has been predicated on that. You can find in abundance artists like Jordi Savall, who is a major figure in a relatively obscure field; or you can find someone like harpsichordist Chiara Massini, an artist who’s much better known in her native Italy & elsewhere on the European continent than in the United States, but is overall an up & coming performer who’s making good use of social media to increase her exposure.

Of course, simply being active in social media is one thing; in Ms Massini’s case, however, she has the talent & the chops (if one can use that term in describing the technique of a harpsichordist!) to back it up. Her playing sparkles with delight & expressiveness. I know that some commentators on YouTube (often not the most savory group of people, nor a group always with the best of intentions) have criticized her use of rubato in playing Bach, but while I am no expert, the music sounds beautiful to me. & I’m reminded of an injunction I saw years ago in a piano instruction book as part of an introduction to a Bach piece. It noted something like “Bach is always musical, & should always be played as such.” Indeed, it seems to me that Bach’s music is not some mathematical problem waiting to be solved, but glorious music. It is expressed in complexity, but I know no aesthetic rules that state complex art forms should be shorn of expression.

There’s not a lot of English language information about Chiara Massini, but I’ll try to relay the major points during the five Sundays of March. Each Sunday I’ll feature her playing a Prelude & Fugue from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (& will also write about this master work.) For now, I can tell you that Chiara Massini has a website, which includes an English version, as well as versions in Italian & German. In addition, you can find her on Facebook, though most of these posts are in Italian, & she has a very active YouTube channel (if you want to read ahead so to speak!) Finally, her recordings are available both on iTunes & CDBaby.

Hope you enjoy this splendid music!


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  1. Absolutely wonderful music John, it made my Sunday morning.

  2. Ah, this was great. The Prelude & Fugue in Cm has always been one of my favorites, and I've been listening to the work of Chiara Massini for a while now, so this was a double treat and a great way to start my Sunday morning. Thanks, John!


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