Recording Reviews

CHOC  CLASSICA of the year 2016 !

"Justin Taylor has all the qualities needed to triumph in complex pages and to magnify their expressiveness:his skill at bringing out the sound of the harpsichord, his iron-hard technique, his velvet-like touch, and his obvious sense of theatricality. "

Philippe Venturini

Early Music Review

“This is a very good programme . . . Justin Taylor is a Bruges laureate and it is easy to see/hear why. (. . .) Not only is his basic technique rock solid, but the embellishments – when and how fast to spread a chord, for instance – are all unerringly judged.”

David Hansell, september 2016

Classics Today : 9/10

“ . . .an artist of fluid, flawless technique, bold ideas, and as much sensitivity as the instrument will allow. (. . .) Taylor exploits the wide variety of style and “temperaments” (personalities) contained in these movements, keeping melody recognizable and harmony secure amid the fantastic, relentless swirl of ornaments.” (Full)

 

David Vernier

GRAMOPHONE EDITOR'S CHOICE !

In recent years it has become commonplace to attribute the 1747 Forqueray Pièces (issued in two versions – one for bass viol, the other for harpsichord) mainly to the son, Jean-Baptiste, who published after his father Antoine’s death. This superbly conceived and produced debut recording suggests we should think again.

Even the young, Franco-American harpsichordist Justin Taylor himself attributes the two 1747 suites on this disc– at least in their final form – to Jean-Baptiste Forqueray. Yet Taylor’s own polished arrangement of a manuscript three-movement Suite pour trois violes by ‘Monsieur Forcroy’ (an earlier spelling often used to refer to Antoine) – if it is indeed by the father and not the son – bears many of the same musical fingerprints. Within the ingratiating Allemande lurks a popular song. The seductive Courante has such exuberance and momentum that evokes the mercurial Antoine. The piquant harmonic progressions in the poetic Sarabande presage those found in the 1747 suites. Viol scholars think of these pieces as less technically demanding than those of the 1747 collection. Taylor, having carefully studied the latter, has nevertheless ensured that the former are similarly styled. Some might say that, like Jean-Baptiste, he has muddied the waters; others will feel he has realised the music’s potential.

The disc opens appropriately with an unpretentious but nevertheless accomplished unmeasured Prelude, also attributed to Antoine, then follows it with a thoughtfully commanding performance of the first 1747 suite. Two aspects of his interpretation stand out: the breathtaking range and subtlety of his rubato and the unexpected slivers of rhetorical silence he deftly inserts. The final movement of the suite, ‘La Couperin’, is juxtaposed with Couperin’s own keyboard portrait of Antoine, though here Taylor respectfully curbs his inégalité. Duphly’s exquisite homage to Jean-Baptiste (and the 1747 collection) leads on to the Forquerays’ monumental Fifth Suite, played with affection and panache. Winning first prize at the 2015 Musica Antiqua Festival in Bruges enabled Taylor to make this recording, which itself is destined to win him fresh accolades.

Julie Anne Sadie

Rondo Magazine

“There are many reasons why Taylor, at the prestigious Musica Antiqua Competition in Bruges in 2015, ran off with three of the main prizes and could thus show up at the recording studio wearing an especially lush laurel crown. He not only possesses the mind needed to move in this highly codified world of sounds, but he is also greatly sensitive to the pleasures of music. He knows how to draw out all the finesse and clarity of the ornaments, the fury of the attacks, and his way of playing has a seductive charm to it. The harpsichord — a copy of a Ruckers-Hemsch — makes the listener marvelously happy when it is played by the fingers of this gigantic talent from France.”

 

Guido Fischer, Rondo, September 17, 2016

Musicweb International

"This CD excites on several levels. It is a first recording for the young (. . .) harpsichordist, Justin Taylor, clearly a player of immense talent and musical sensitivity – the sensitivity which puts musical values of clarity and authentic interpretation above mere display. (. . .) The fine instrument helps, but the prize goes to Justin Taylor for his thoughtful and sometimes muscular playing. He captures very well the sense of quicksilver emotions." (Full)

 

Mickael Wilkinson

Concert Reviews

La Réole Festival, september 2015


" Justin Taylor, harpsichordist and winner of the first prize at the most recent competition in Bruges, which is “the” reference in ancient music. He is a performer capable of nuances that one suspected were impossible on this instrument and whose science of rhythms shined forth in Forqueray’s harpsichord suites. "

Sud-Ouest, September 28th 2015

Mozart Concerto, Easter Festival of Deauville

After playing the continuo in the Bach piece, the French keyboardist comes back on stage to play the pianoforte in Mozart’s Concerto N°17 (KV 453). The acoustics of the Salle Elie de Brignac in Deauville are not the perfect ones for the instrument Taylor is playing, but the miracle occurs. The public holds its breath, attentive to the soft luminosity and deep poetry that emerges from Taylor’s performance. (One is not likely to forget that Andante, with its infinite tenderness!...) 

Alain Cochard, concert classic, may 2016

More.

Concertgebouw Bruges, August 2015

 

"The young Frenchman Justin Taylor, 23 years old, created the shock: from the onset, he asserted himself with a clear, brilliant, dynamic way of playing, ever in movement, ever inventive. The compulsory competition piece underscored his exceptional control of sound, his art of bringing harmonics into affinity, his art of silence as well and, running through the entire performance, a very personal kind of dramatization. With authority and naturalness, Justin opened his own temporality and drew his audience into it. This is everything that we expect from the greatest interpreters of music."

 

Martine D. Mergeay, La Libre Belgique, August 6th 2015

Portrait in Diapason, november 2015

" Justin Taylor intends to take advantage of his new fame to develop his projects. Beginning with a recording for the Alpha label, which should lead him to his favorite repertory: French music from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (d’Anglebert, Forqueray et al.). For him, this music has “a very particular poetry and refinement” that the harpsichord brings out with “depth and suppleness”. Behind his youthful face, the ideas are already firm: a fine base for going far, and fast. "

 

Benoît Fauchet, Diapason, novembre 2015

© 2019 Justin Taylor