A recent release is the Recital of 20th-Century Harpsichord Music (Music and Arts CD-977), Kirkpatrick's unique recital at the University of California, Berkeley, given on 26 January 1961. This unedited concert program features coughing, applause, and the world premiere performance of Henry Cowell's Set of Four, with its typical tone clusters and the specific octave trills for the left hand, so proudly pointed out later by Mr. Kirkpatrick in his introduction to the printed score.Â I wish I could be more enthusiastic about this disc, but, unfortunately, I find the performances particularly lacking in suppleness and charm, especially in the decidely "non-grazioso" fast bangup of Delius' Dance, and the startling number of misreadings and wrong rhythms in the first movement of Persichetti's [First] Sonata for Harpsichord (at that time the only one there was). Kirkpatrick played only this one movement at his recital, and his reading sent me searching for my copy of the composer's manuscript to see if it really differed so markedly from the later printed version. It didn't!
Other works chosen for this program included Lou Harrison's Six Sonatas, Ernst Levy's Fantasie Symphonique, and works by Peter Mieg, Halsey Stevens, Douglas Allanbrook, and David Kraehenbuehl, whose Toccate per Cembalo, together with Mel Powell's exciting Recitative and Toccata Percossa, are the best-played selections.
What possessed the producers to include Igor Kipnis' fine review of Frances Bedford's Harpsichord and Clavichord Music of the 20th Century as a major part of the accompanying booklet defies logic! There is no information about the music on the disc, but rather a general background of 20th-century composition for harpsichord and some very Kipnis-specific examples of how Bedford's catalog is useful. With a full program of music unfamiliar to most players and (probably) all listeners, it surely would have been helpful to provide information about the specific composers and works found on this particular compact disc. All-in-all this release has historic and archival value, but it will not do much to garner general appreciation for 20th-century harpsichord music.
Henri Cowell - Set of Four (1960)
Lou Harrison - Six Sonata's (1943)
Frederick Delius - Dance for Harpsicord (1919)
Ernst Levy - Fantasie Symphonique (1939)
Peter Mieg - Le voyage a Montfort (1956)
Halsey Stevens - From the Partita (1954)
Vincent Persichetti - From the Sonatasfor Harposicord FS&H Opus 52
Douglas Allanbrook - Sonata No 1 (194?)
Mel Powell - Tecitative and Toccata Percossa
David Kraehenbuehl - Toccata per Cembalo (1955)