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Harpsichordist María Teresa Chenlo

L'art d'être touché par le clavecin

(Sonata for Harpsichord)

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The harpsichord played an important part of my musical training, as an instrument to whose study I dedicated myself for a few years along with the piano and the violin, without fully mastering any of them, since composition occupied all my dedication from a certain moment. For a trio made up of flute, cello and harpsichord I composed in 1978 an early Suite, quickly out of print. More serious attempts were the Variations and Variances on Boccherini Themes, a concerto for harpsichord and small chamber orchestra composed in 1988, as well as the Due essercizi of 1989. But both for its formal scope and for its technical treatment, it occupies a prominent place in my "affective" catalogue the Sonata for Clave, composed in 2000 and entitled L'art d'être touché par le clavecin, whose title, clearly allusive to L'art de toucher le clavecin by Couperin, looks for a play on words untranslatable into Spanish with the double meaning of the French verb toucher as "play" (in Couperin) and "move" (in my Sonata).

Cover of the first printing of Couperin's
L'art de toucher le clavecin (1717)

Full with great technical difficulties, as well as the frequent use of elements from the traditional harpsichord vocabulary (trills, mordents, arpeggios), this Sonata is an ambitious piece in a single movement that leaves the solutions to many of its intricate formal aspects to the good judgment of the harpsichordist. A series of recurring elements are elaborated in a sometimes highly refined way, always within a great interpretative rubato -very harpsichordist, on the other hand- that requires constant support between performer and composer to guarantee that the final result is fully satisfactory.
That was the case of the memorable performance of the dedicatee of the score, María Teresa Chenlo, recorded on the CD A Portrait, with which the BBVA Fundación's collection of Spanish and Latin American Composers of Current Music was inaugurated in 2008.

Cover of the CD José Luis Turina. A Portrait (2008)

First page of L'art d'être touché par le clavecin


Recording: María Teresa Chenlo (fragment)

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(Score without watermarks available at www.asesores-musicales.com )