Christopher Stembridge

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Excerpts from reviews of Christopher Stembridge's performances and recordings

"There are few keyboard players capable of endowing a performance with such musicality, delivered through such sensitivity of touch and articulation ... Stembridge's specialisation in the Italian baroque repertoire is an ideal vehicle for his interpretative skills, here focussed on that astonishing outpouring of harmonic intensity and emotion from 16th/17th century Naples." - Early Music Review

"The organist and harpsichordist Christopher Stembridge, a specialist in the field of early Italian keyboard music, successfully brings to life this exciting chapter of music history. This is a living demonstration of the fact that virtuoso inventiveness and exploitation of the possibilities of the instrument was by no means the exclusive domain of the age of Liszt." - Fonoforum

"Of the bravura of Stembridge's interpretations and of his rare ability to enliven his performance with almost jazz-like improvisations, we can only say that one seldom comes across a musician who is so thoroughly conversant with historic cultural values and who, at the same time, has both the interpretative gift and the technical ability to express himself." - Resto del Carlino (Bologna)

" ...[Stembridge's] was a confident and relaxed performance ... at all times in full command of his instrument ... a demonstration of real virtuosity, the performance of the Chromatic Fantasia reached a point of distinction in its thoughtful reasoning, precision of pace and dignity." - Irish Times

"Christopher Stembridge, musician and musicologist of exceptional talent with one of the most cultured minds, played both organ and clavichord..... outstanding features of the recital were clarity and captivating phrasing, which created an extremely rich scale of colours and affetti." - Messaggero Veneto (Venice)

"In particular we must praise the extreme clarity with which Stembridge played the Ricercar à 6 from the Musical Offering - transposing it to fit the keyboard of the Antegnati organ." - Bresciaoggi

"Much Italian music of the Renaissance and early Baroque can appear quite meaningless on the page - endless semiquavers over held chords with no obvious structure or form. The magnificent acoustic of many talian churches, allowing the music to integrate with the architecture to create a multi-dimensional experience, only partly helps the player to work out just what is going on. But in Stembridge we have a player who manages to impose a real sense of musical direction and form. His playing shows just how musical a semiquaver can be - his fluid sense of touch and articulation and artistic use of the rhetorical gesture brings this music to life in a remarkable way. Organists will learn a lot from listening to playing like this." - Early Music Review

"Having laboured over presenting in his edition [of Ascanio Mayone's keyboard music] a text as close to the original as possible, [Stembridge's] performance seems to delight in treating that text as flexibly as possible ... the absence of a regular pulse reminds me of early 20th-century Chopin playing ...the performances here are impressive, and present the little-known composer in an attractive and convincing way." - Early Music News

"Stembridge presented his credentials: superb touch, complete attention to musical expression and meticulous care for articulating the individual voices in contrapuntal sections." - Giornale di Trieste

"Christopher Stembridge's playing was consistently musical, authoritative, and enjoyable." - Irish Times

 

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