Aleksandra Grychtolik & Alexander Grychtolik
Two harpsichords stand in a baroque music chamber. They have made music in daily collaboration since 2008, finding their unmistakable shared voice: the sound of the Grychtoliks. The German-Polish couple has captivated international audiences with works by such composers as Bach, Rameau and Mozart, as well as baroque live improvisations that constitute a singular musical event unique to each of their performances. Aleksandra and Alexander Grychtolik revive the improvisational art of the baroque period, in a virtuosic and uninhibited way, in their concerts.
Their dynamic style of play, taking joy in articulation – strengthened by the mixture of their effervescent temperaments – does away with the cliché of the unwieldy, antiquated sound of the harpsichord. The harpsichord strings are brought to life, resounding with the untamed power of an entire baroque orchestra. Subtlety and precision interweave with the vigor of spontaneous, creative and joyful play.
Their debut CD, “Fantasia baroque” by the musicians celebrated as an “artistic couple with magical hands” for their improvisations on Bach, Bertali and Pasquini (COVIELLO), was nominated by Echo Klassik 2016 and praised by Early Music Review as an “excellent recording”.
For their solo appearances throughout Europe, they play on two copies of two-manual harpsichords by Johannes Ducken from the year 1750, built in 1979 and 1989 by Cornelis Bom in the Netherlands. The older of the two instruments belonged for several years to Gustav Leonhardt, one of the most legendary harpsichordists of the twentieth century, who also used this Ducken copy for concerts in Germany. The second instrument was originally built for St. Catharine’s Church in Hamburg.
In addition to their musical career, Aleksandra and Alexander Grychtolik have worked in disciplines related to music. Aleksandra Grychtolik, for example, studied cultural management along with the harpsichord and was active for several years in the European Parliament, including time spent in the field of cultural policy. Alexander Grychtolik studied architecture at the Bauhaus University in Weimar and wrote his dissertation on the subject of the conservation of musical cultural heritage. He has published reconstructions of vocal works by J. S. Bach with Edition Peters and Breitkopf publishers (including for example the first reconstruction of a late version of the Passion of St. Mark of 1744, verified in 2009, as well as the “Köthen Funeral Music” BWV 244a). He is currently dedicating his time to the virtual reconstruction of historically significant concert halls, such as the spaces in which J. S. Bach composed his music.
In 2008, Aleksandra and Alexander Grychtolik founded the “Deutsche Hofmusik” ensemble, which is dedicated primarily to performances of secular vocal works by J. S. Bach and his contemporaries. The chamber music ensemble can be heard regularly at leading European Bach festivals and publishes its recordings with Sony (DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI). The CD of the 2015 recording of J. S. Bach’s “Köthen Funeral Music” was nominated for the German Record Critics’ Prize and honored as an “important contribution to Bach’s overall reception”. The highlight of the current season is the “Angenehme Melodei” CD, which is the first recording to two reconstructed homage cantatas by J. S. Bach.