The Baroque era so dominates our view of early music in general and keyboard music of the period in particular that the work of earlier composers appears not only refreshing but exotic. But the Baroque had its own roots in earlier ideas, a substantial foundation of which came from the Fitzilliam Virginal Book.
That book is a compendium of almost 300 keyboard works from the late Renaissance to early Baroque (at the time, virginal was a general term for keyboard instruments). The music runs the gamut of national styles and the forms range from rigorous contrapuntal exercises to character pieces and musical jokes.
Thursday evening at Weill Recital Hall, Richard Egarr will play selections from the book representing some of the most important contributors; Purcell, Byrd, John Blow, and Sweelinck. Expect Egarr, a leading contemporary harpsichordist, to channel the full range of colors and invention in the music.
Richard Egarr plays from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Weill Hall. carnegiehall.org