On September 10 2020, Poul Ruders’ Harpsichord Concerto co-commissioned for Mahan Esfahani, by Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, will premiere in Aarhus, Denmark.
Mahan Esfahani is one of the world’s leading harpsichordist and has made it his life's mission to bring the harpsichord into the mainstream of concert instruments.
Intrigued and driven by the tension between ‘yesterday’ and ‘today’ - created by the solo instrument - Ruders creates a symbiosis, by bringing the past into the present and giving it new identity and purpose.
Observing the time-honoured order of movements in a classical concerto, as Ruders puts it, Harpsichord Concerto has three movements: a fast first one; a second slow one, and a third that we will have to wait to discover.
Ruders has worked with the instrument before. As a young man he played the harpsichord, but it wasn’t until 1985 that he composed Cembal D’Amore – First Book, a five-movement suite for harpsichord and piano.
Ruders returned to the harpsichord in 2007 with Cembal D’Amore – Second Book, an eight-movement suite where each movement is a sort of étude where not only techniques are dived into, but also the many combinations that exist within the meeting of the piano and the harpsichord.
In his programme note, Ruders writes about what a cembal d’amour is. Invented by Gottfried Silbermann in 1720, the cembal d’amour was an attempt to combine the clavichord’s soft timbre with the harpsichord’s harder tone. Unfortunately, no example of it has survived.
That was that, thought Poul Ruders. But then it wasn’t, when a few years ago, Ruders received an offer he couldn’t refuse. The result will fill the Symfonisk Sal of Aarhus Musikhuset on September 10.
Listen to Cembal D'Amore - Second Book
World Premiere of Poul Ruders’ Harpsichord Concerto
4th September 2020
His orchestrations hallucinate and illuminate in amazing ways. Hear him. Now.
- Edward Seckerson, The Independent