"Fingers flying at the speed of light" in Mahan Esfahani's latest album for Hyperion 'The Passinge Mesures'

26 November 2018

Described as being an 'album of the year' and 'highly recommended', Mahan Esfahani's latest album for Hyperion 'The Pessinge Mesures' has received stellar reviews.

Featuring works by some of the most renowned English virginalists of the 16th and 17th centuries, this is Mahan's first CD release since returning to Hyperion.

"Listening to this Iranian-American wheeling at speed through 16th and 17th-century English delights is as exhilarating a musical experience as I know ... As for virtuoso flair, even Liszt would doff the cap at Esfahani’s furious arpeggios and decorative flourishes, fingers flying at the speed of light ... Such enriching repertoire too. The Passinge Mesures takes its title from a Byrd pavan and galliard — ancient dance forms bustled into dizzying, sometimes dissonant new shapes ... I suspect that Esfahani would make magic even if playing a penny whistle. This is definitely one of my albums of the year." - Geoff Brown, The Times

“These works have sometimes been handled as trifles or decorative minatures. But Iranian-American harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani treats them as profoundly expressive and introspective works. Here measured, there free, his readings highlight the ebb and flow of their poetry and prose; phrases are rhetorically articulated. Esfahani’s muscular technique enhances the robust rhythms of popular dances like the gilliard, jig and romanesca, and his response to Byrd’s hexachord fantasy is visceral rather than cerebral … Though the choice is anachronistic – the instrument beefing up what would have been a more intimate soundworld – Esfahani’s performances are so persuasive that it is hard to raise any strong objection.” - Kate Bolton-Porciatti, BBC Music Magazine

"Esfahani’s playing is colourful and magnetic, the fingerwork in the more virtuoso works absolutely clean and articulate. The mean-tone tuning gives the accidentals and chromatic outliers in the more harmonically meandering of the pieces a wonderfully piquant twang." – Phillip Kennicott, Gramophone
"From the dramatic opening of Tomkins' flashy Barafostus Dreame to the closing Variations on the Romanesca, Esfahani displays robust energy and powerful virtuosity, and the whole album exudes his enthusiasm through his lively rhythms and sparkling embellishments, which make this body of work just as appealing as anything by the later keyboard masters of the Baroque era. Highly recommended." - Blair Sanderson, AllMusic
“This recording provides further confirmation of Mahan Esfahani’s status among the finest keyboard players of his generation. For listeners who relish challenging material and interpretations on the harpsichord, he is perhaps the most exciting exponent in the present day. Here he presents a varied and well-chosen selection from a repertory which, as he makes passionately clear in the accompanying booklet, is close, if not closest of all, to his heart and mind: music by Bull, Byrd, Giles and Richard Farnaby, Gibbons, Inglott and Tomkins. There could hardly be a better programme; different, certainly, but not better." - Richard Turbet, Early Music Review

Hyperion writes:

"This sensational recital—featuring some of the greatest keyboard music to emerge from these islands—is the perfect vehicle for Mahan Esfahani’s abundant talents. His accompanying booklet notes are an added bonus, guaranteed to inform, illuminate and provoke by turns."

For more information and to order a copy please click here.

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