© Kaja Smith

Mahan Esfahani

Bach & Takemitsu on harpsichord
Small Hall on Sunday
Sun 25 Feb ’24 12:00 uur

Takemitsu - Rain Dreaming 
C. Ph. E. Bach - Variations on Les Folies 
J. S. Bach - English Suite No. 6 
Poul Ruders - Quick Step Rag

Sun 25 Feb ’24
12:00 uur

Iranian-American harpsichord player Mahan Esfahani is on a mission. He has to because he wants to show that the harpsichord is entirely a contemporary instrument. Prejudice is what he is up against. 'I always have to urge [critics] to let go of them. People expect you as a harpsichord player, to embrace the aesthetics and mannerisms of the early music movement. I don't.' He adds: 'The whole idea is wrong that something can sound like it did three hundred years ago.' There's something to be said for it and it is wonderful to see how Esfahani takes the harpsichord, which we know mostly from Baroque music, into the 21st century.

Esfahani combines 'ancient' with 'modern'. 20th-Century Japanese Toru Takemitsu dreams melancholically in his atmospheric Rain Dreaming. Poul Ruders is very up to date with Quick Step Rag: completed in 2023... He wrote it especially for Esfahani, who also plays a pair of Bach pieces by father and son. As clear, structured and beautifully organised as father Johann Sebastian composed, son Carl Philipp Emanuel is loose and imaginative. The latter thus reacted somewhat to his father's 'learnedness' without losing respect for him, by the way. J.S.'s suites may be called 'English', but Bach was guided more by the French harpsichord style and also that of the French lute players.

After the concert

After the concert, we will serve a cup of coffee or tea with a delicious treat. This is included with your ticket.