I was just noodling around this afternoon, and started thinking about
improvisation on the harpsichord. While almost every professional
harpsichordist does a lot of it in the course of continuo playing, and
of course little ornaments here and there, and small joins between
opera scenes and the like; I hardly know of any cases where I've heard
the improvisation itself be the focus of a performance, whether live or
recorded. About the only exception to this has been on the Giardino
Armonico "Viaggio in Italia" CD, where there's a lengthy segment
modulating from one piece to another. But this is nothing like the
tradition of organ improv, or even piano improv.
Is anyone actively improvising at the harpsichord? Are there any CDs
available with much of it? And what sort of style of music is being
made? I've done some preludes and that sort of thing
has my best recorded attempt so far), but haven't had a huge amount of
success at doing more structured pieces.
I do think that it's a fascinating subject, and something that more
people should do more often!