These great pieces are three-movement works written in emulation of the Trio Sonata format (two melody instruments and accompaniment) for solo organ. They are masterpieces, but they are not as well known as Bach's other instrumental works. Some listeners find the sound of an organ difficult to enjoy, and even those who like organ music have trouble finding recordings that offer the music with enough clarity to follow the lines. One solution is to arrange these pieces for other instruments. Paula Robison and John Gibbons have recorded a splendid set for flute and harpsichord
. But following an 1800 edition for two harpsichords, Leopard and Paul now perform them on two "lute-harpsichords." These are not authentic instruments; we know that Bach had a lautenwerk but none have survived and we don't know what they sounded like. But the extreme clarity of the instruments (the opposite extreme from the organ!) and the articulation and drive of the performances do a fine job of making the music accessible--especially if you prefer the lute or harpsichord to the organ. --Leslie Gerber
A landmark, debut recording which features not one but two gut-stringed harpsichords (called "Lautenwercke") performed by the virtuoso keyboard duo of Shawn Leopard and John Paul. These complex sonatas have been transcribed for performance on two magnificent instruments (from the studio of master builder Anden Houben) and the results nothing short of revolutionary! Shawn Leopard and John Paul began their collaboration as Shawn Leopard and John Paul, Music for Two Harpsichords in 1997. They play the entire known repertoire for two harpsichords along with creative transcriptions of their own using both harpsichords strung in brass and iron and two Lautenwercke, and have covered over 50,000 miles across the US giving concerts, informances and school residencies. The most revolutionary Bach CD of the millenium, 250 years in the making!