The expression « to push boundaries », where the musical instrument is the boundary to be pushed, has become common place and over-used to the point of cliché. where the harpsichord and contemporary music are concerned, and as musicians and composers explore gestures, playing techniques and compositional language that can accommodate the harpsichord’s characteristics – resulting in a musical text that is instrument-specific – people have been « pushing boundaries » for at least a century (neither is this instrument-specificity recent. baroque composers had to deal with the harpsichord in much the same way, and composed scores that were highly harpsichord-specific). also to the point of cliché, « the liberation of the harpsichord », is bandied about and usually refers to its liberation from a historical playing technique and neo-baroque writing. but jalsaghar proposes that the instrument is secondary in the scheme of things, a mere medium for the transport of Music, and that it is Music, rather, that needs liberating – from the stranglehold of instrument. and so jalsaghar‘s harpsichord may sound unlike its conventional self, at times perhaps even unrecognizable, the goal of this recording being to make it adapt to, and to be in the service of, Music, rather than vice-versa.
to transcend instrument, the harpsichord, to deny, defy and refuse it, to hear so-called instrumental Music in and as space, colour and light at different depths-of-field – with a sound design that aspires to both the serious and the playful – to try to attain an idea / l of Music, to give it wing – this is the goal of jalsaghar.
– from notes on the recording, vivienne spiteri
1. in the beginning was the end
2. blurred lines
4. swift silver
6. lines overlapping
7. insect variations, my life as a bug
Vivienne Spiteri, harpsichord/clavecin