"A theatrical listening experience": Mahan Esfahani's latest CD "Musique?" is released by Hyperion

21 July 2020

Mahan Esfahani’s hotly anticipated album of modern music for harpsichord has finally arrived. Comprised of repertoire composed between 1960 and 2018, and including three works for harpsichord and electronics, Musique? features composers Toru Takemitsu, Henry Cowell, Kaija Saariaho, Gavin Bryars, Anahita Abbasi, and Luc Ferrari. Released by Hyperion, the album has quickly garnered some exciting reviews:

This album of modern pieces for harpsichord will completely upend your idea of the instrument.
Ivan Hewett The Telegraph****
Mahan Esfahani—he’s just such an amazing force and a polemicist for the harpsichord … because although he’s brilliant at Bach he refuses to let the harpsichord remain in an ‘Early Music’ box, and he’s a great commissioner and performer of new music … really good recorded sound as well … it’s brilliantly done.
BBC Record Review
Musique?, devoted to works composed between 1960 and 2018, [makes] a statement: Esfahani—an Iranian-born, American-raised evangelist for an archaic keyboard closely linked with centuries-old European music—elevates composers who deviate from convention. In acoustic works by Toru Takemitsu, Henry Cowell, and Gavin Bryars, he demonstrates the deft touch and technical bravura familiar from his celebrated Baroque interpretations. But, in electroacoustic pieces by Kaija Saariaho, Anahita Abbasi, and Luc Ferrari, Esfahani’s exuberant lines, rapier-sharp thrusts, and bombastic explosions abandon courtly decorum, revealing an instrument strange and new.
Steve Smith, The New Yorker
The adventurous harpsichord champion Mahan Esfahani has, for the first time, devoted an entire album to music of our time. To further stretch the boundaries of the known, three of the six compositions also contain an electronic component, often based on the harpsichord sound itself. ... Esfahani's compatriot, Iranian Anahita Abbasi, shows herself a composer with guts in the two-year-old Intertwined Distances. Alienating buzzing sounds and furious keyboard fists interspersed with gossamer string playing create a theatrical listening experience.
Frits van der Waa, de Volkskrant***

Click here to read the full reviews or to find out more about Mahan Esfahani.

Musique? is available from Hyperion Records or on iTunes.

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