It’s a very hard time for so many people as so much work has been cancelled or disrupted. Here are some very innovative projects featuring Steven Devine that have taken place since the lockdown began in March:
The National Centre for Early Music are live-streaming Preludes 1-12 of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier on March 21st at 1300h. This was originally to have been a live concert, but with the current restrictions in place, this had to be cancelled. However Steven will be at the harpsichord in York performing live on the NCEM Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/yorkearlymusic/.
Sorry to report that the Performance Clinic and Concert with Anneke Scott that was to take place tomorrow (Mar 11) at the Bate Collection in Oxford has been cancelled.
Steven is delighted to join the distinguished roster of musicians at Caroline Phillips Management. Caroline will take care of world-wide representation of Stevenfor conducting and keyboard work from March 2020 onwards.
Choir and Organ magazine have given five stars to Steven Devine’s recording of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Click below to read the review.
This is an altogether delightful pair of CDs, and makes me impatient for the second part. There are other recordings about, including Colin Booth’s own, but Devine’s has a particular seemingly effortless grace, and it’s the one of all I’ve heard in the past ten years that I am happiest to live with.
A new review for Das Wohltemperierte Klavier by Andrew Benson Wilson. The review can be found here.
The Well-tempered Clavier, Book 1 Steven Devine (harpsichord) Resonus RES10239 (hybrid CD/SACD) 111:19 mins (2 discs)
Harpsichordist Steven Devine enters a fiercely competitive field in tackling one of the most frequently played and recorded warhorses of the keyboard repertoire. Nonetheless, to the endless possibilities of Bach’s preludes and fugues, he brings many insights. Notable is his flawless, but rarely flashy, technique: lines are sharp as cut-glass and finelyweighted, ornaments are spruce and discreet. There are fleeting moments of fiery virtuosity, such as the C minor, G major, and
B flat major Preludes – works whose improvisatory abandon was inspired by the Italian stylus fantasticus. But generally Devine’s approach is rather more sober, informed by a scholastic rigour – as, indeed, are his excellent disc liner notes. Tempos are on the whole measured, and his pensive (but never ponderous) manner suits Bach’s more reflective works: the visionary B minor fugue comes off particularly well.
There are frequent rhetorical touches in the articulation – little pauses and breathing points delineating, and occasionally over punctuating, phrases. Here and there one might have wished for greater balletic grace in the danceinspired works.
Colin Booth’s copy of a single manual harpsichord by the German maker Johann Christof Fleischer – the original dating from 1710 – has a burnished, plangent sound.
Its tuning, based on Kirnberger III rather than equal temperament, highlights the variegated colours of the different keys and is slightly modified to avoid unpleasing dissonances. The well-judged recording is detailed but not oppressive. Kate Bolton-porciatti
- BBC Music Magazine
- 15 May 2019
“Devine’s readings are flowing and logical, with variety brought to the entire set first and foremost by his extraordinarily sensitive articulation. In the more toccata-like preludes, his subtly applied tenuto touch keeps things crisp and moving, without monotony. His acute sense of the singing line clarifies even the most complex textures. “
The first recording of Francesco Fiore’s “Concerto Ostinato” for harpsichord and orchestra on the Zefir Records label. Watch this space!