Agents news: Rising harpsi gets US rep

When Mahan Esfahani made an unprompted debut with the Chicago Symphony, three agents flew out to see him. Mahan is a fixture on DG records and at the Wigmore Hall.

The news is, he’s signed today with Colbert. Interview here.

mahan album

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  • The whole industry is becoming mom/pop shops. Colbert is good, but it essentially is piggybacking from the DG deal.

    Lets be honest, its unlikely there will be 5, 4, even 3 CD’s from harpshichord before starting to cater solely to niche markets, so that is going to go Away (unless Esfahani starts playing Lady Gaga on the Harpsichord, or starts doing jokes in his concert like your favorite duo Igudesman/Joo).

    I’d like to see if he is still there in 5 years.

  • Wonderful artist, but I don’t understand why he should be called a fixture on DG. He was signed up in August 2014 and had one album released in May 2015.

  • Gramophone is shamelessly promoting him as well. Don’t really know why–there are several young harpsichordists whom I prefer. Perhaps it’s his exotic Iranian origins, more probably because he’s in the UK and not French. The pitiful thing is that most listeners won’t even consider a harpsichord performance, because they heard a recording made back in the ’50s or ’60s on a horrible instrument (yes, they did sound as Sir Thomas said they did). Harpsichord making and playing have advanced incredibly since that time. Yet we constantly see new recordings of harpsichord music on the modern piano, giving listeners an odd idea of that music’s virtues. Try a couple of YouTube videos by Jean Rondeau or Violaine Cochard and you may find that your concept of the harpsichord is outdated.

    • What’s so exotic about his origins? He’s American. And no musician is preferred by everyone. This sort of nitpicking over one player and being unable to accept different viewpoints is the sort of rarified harpsichord infighting that Esfahani is trying his best to fight.

    • Thank you for bring to our attention Jean Rondeau and Violaine Cochard. I sampled youtube clips of both and was very impressed.

      Nevertheless, I don’t agree about your comments on the supposed dominance of outdated harpsichord recordings. There have been plenty of wonderful harpsichord recordings over the last 30 years and they are much easier to find than those by, say, Wanda Landowska. What you are saying may have been true until the 1970s (yes, I vividly remember those days).

      • I didn’t mean to say that there haven’t been numerous fine harpsichord recordings in the last 30 years–obviously, there have. What I meant was that many older listeners heard a bad instrument when they were young and have not been willing to listen to the harpsichord since. They are unaware of all the advances that have been made.

  • One so far unexplored explanation is that he is extremely good.

    A fine performer and a vocal and effective advocate for this instrument, which certainly needs such attention at present.

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