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The Art of the Harpsichord CD

Byron Schenkman & Friends - Art of the Harpsichord CD

Byron Schenkman & Friends announces a new CD —

The Art of the Harpsichord
Byron Schenkman on eight historical harpsichords 
in the National Music Museum
$20 (plus $3 shipping & handling)

To order please send an email to margy@byronschenkman.com.

From the CD sleeve: The National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota, is one of the world’s best musical instrument collections and holds a very special place in my heart. I first performed and recorded there with violinist Ingrid Matthews in 1995 (back when it was known as “The Shrine to Music Museum”) and I have enjoyed many return visits since. It is rare to find so many great examples of early keyboard instruments kept in beautiful playing condition and I am very grateful to the museum for allowing these instruments to be played and heard.

This recording project has been a vision of mine for many years. Although there are other recordings of historical harpsichords available, including some of the instruments heard here, I wanted to provide a means to hear all these instruments side by side with as much kept constant as possible: the same harpsichordist, same engineer, and same room. All these factors make such a difference in how an instrument sounds. I also wanted to fit the repertoire as closely as possible to each instrument. For example, the pieces by Henry Purcell were published in the same year and the same city in which the Charles Haward spinet was built, and the Mozart variations were published in Paris just a few years before the Jacques Germain harpsichord was built there. John Koster offered valuable guidance in choosing repertoire for some of the instruments, pointing out the connection with the print by Andrea Antico for example (see notes), and sending me a copy of the charming piece by Johann Heinrich Silbermann – a rare chance to hear an original composition by the harpsichord builder himself! At the same time I chose pieces that I found musically rewarding, striving to make an enjoyable listening experience as well as an informative survey.

The week I spent in Vermillion recording the music for this CD was one of the happiest of my life. I hope you will experience some of that joy in listening to it!

—Byron Schenkman