Recorded on 06/10/1990, uploaded on 06/06/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Even if Bull wrote works of extreme virtuosity for keyboard, they do not give the full measure of his genius. His contrapuntal works, such as the Fantasias on the hexachord, are completely astounding. In the one selected here, the cantus firmus is presented in eleven keys, going six notes beyond the circle of fifths (C flat to A sharp). The work opens in a severe, elaborate style, becomes increasingly complex rhythmically and reaches a climax in a short ternary section before closing by a return to a binary division where the hexachord is heard twice more on G.
The instrument used for this recording is a muselar (a rectangular virginal plucking on the right side). A temperament by Grammateus is used, it consists of ten pure fifths, the Pythagorean comma being splitted on the two remaining fifths. Most of the complimentary intervals beat at the same speed, producing coherent harmonies. All keys can be played in, with occasionnally harsh but acceptable clashes, adding contrast to the harmonic spectrum.
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