Headbanging Handel

virtuoso handelI started listening to this recording last night while cooking dinner, and I ended listening to it about three times total. I’ve had it for ages, but I hadn’t thought about it in a long time. It’s harpsichordist Igor Kipnis playing Handel. I’m a fan of Kipnis – I enjoy his harpsichord versions of Bach’s keyboard partitas (available super-cheap, if memory serves) and I also have a recording of him playing some of Scarlatti’s little harpsichord sonatas that I like a lot.

Most of these were recorded in the 1970s or thereabouts. (Kipnis died in 2001. Also, just for clarity, because the image above is rather small: the recording is entitled “The Virtuoso Handel” and not “Headbanging Handel.”) This Handel recording is pretty great. I had forgotten how much nuance and – eh, I don’t know, expressive force, I guess is the phrase, there is in Kipnis’s playing. It’s very easy to get sucked in. Hence the headbanging. Not literally, of course – besides, I don’t really have the hairstyle to do that kind of thing justice – but if one ever were to thrash to a recording of Handel’s harpsichord music, this might well be it.

7 thoughts on “Headbanging Handel

  1. The image of headbanging to Handel is so bizarre I can’t even… BUT, anyway back to Kipnis. I had a handful of his LPs (remember LPs?) back in the day. I am going to have to track this one down now.


    1. …and the Scarlatti, and the Bach Partitas, too. They ARE cheap, and I just realized I have several piano versions of the partitas (a favorite is András Schiff) but none on harpsichord. I’ll be right back; gotta do some downloading.


          1. The hipsters are into cassettes now too – there are 20somethings out there who thrill to the idea of a mix tape on an actual tape. (I myself was tempted to buy a phone cover that looked like such a tape – and I am old enough to have owned some cassette tapes! – but then I thought no, and did not.)


            1. Yeah, there’s something about the challenge of fitting 45 minutes’ worth of tracks to a side, and still have the theme hang together, and then doing the cover art, that cannot be replicated by dragging mp3s into a file folder. Some pretty good ones came out of my poor fried out nak decks.


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