building site: forqueray suite 1

May 21, 2020

I am going to fill up this space with video recordings of Forqueray’s first suite in D-minor.

First out: La Laborde, recorded 20 May 2020.

remembering M. S.

May 14, 2020

May 14, 2020

Today six years ago, Martin Skowroneck passed away. He would have been 93 years old now. I made a spontaneous–after-dinner-recording in his memory of one of my favorite pieces, the Prélude in D by Jean – Henry D’Anglebert.

Later tonight, we will celebrate him by filling, lifting, and emptying, a glass in his memory. I know he would have wanted that.

 

stay-at-home cyclopes

May 3, 2020

In my second stay-at-home video, I play J.Ph. Rameau’s Les Cyclopes, a piece that is good for encores but dangerous to play when too tired (so it’s always good to have an alternative ready!).

 

 

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stay-at-home baricades

April 18, 2020

Recording oneself at home is now an accepted thing that musicians (including harpsichordists!) do, who are stranded at home with their concerts canceled. Below is a link to my after-dinner version of François Couperin’s rather mysterious baricades. The meaning of the title of the piece from his second book of Pieces de Clavecin remains unknown, according to the Wikipedia article, although there are a number of possibilities of varying degrees of juiciness.

The challenge of this not-frightfully-difficult piece is to find a balance between the indication Vivement and not playing so fast that the harpsichord begins to sound like a mechanical 18th-century toy.

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françois couperin recordings coming soon

April 8, 2020

I spent two of the last days in March 2020 before the (comparatively moderate, but still) Swedish coronavirus-stay-at-home recommendations went live, recording a harpsichord program with music by François Couperin. The program contains the first Prélude in C-major and selections from the third Ordre in C-minor from book 1 of the Pièces de Clavecin; the second Prélude in D-major and selections from the second Ordre, and the sixth Prélude in B-minor and the entire magnificent eighth Ordre in B-minor.

Two sound samples are here (Second Ordre, La Terpsicore and La Garnier:

The recording was made in Ödenäs church on March 4 and 5, 2020, by Erik Sikkema. The Harpsichord is a 18th-century French model (5 octaves) by Martin Skowroneck (1980). Read the rest of this entry »

new bach CD

April 8, 2020

© Tilman Skowroneck April 2020

My newest CD with works by J.S. Bach is now available on the German label TYXart.

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The program includes the Sixth English Suite BWV 811, The Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E-flat major BWV 998 and Gustav Leonhardt’s version of the Second Violin Partita BWV 1004 which ends with the famous Ciaccona, about which I have previously written in this post. Two sound examples can be found below.

The recording was made by Freek Sluijs in Bremen in October 2018. The harpsichord is a nigh-copy of the 1728 two-manual Christian Zell in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, made by Martin Skowroneck in 1976.

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Baroque music lovers from Baltimore may remember this instrument as formerly owned by Charlotte and Clifford Truesdell. The elaborate stand was made by Rod Regier in Freeport, Maine. I re-quilled the instrument with bird plectra a few days before the recording. Read the rest of this entry »

first and last – 60 years (and a few) of skowroneck harpsichords

March 11, 2019

© Tilman Skowroneck 2019

Just as I was writing that Martin Skowroneck’s unfinished harpsichord no. 90 now reaches completion in the Oldenburg workshop of Dietrich Hein (see also here), Menno van Delft sent me pictures of the first Skowroneck harpsichord, which is on display in the Berlin instrument collection.

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(Photo: Menno van Delft 2019)

So this is “no. 1”, a rather ambitious project with a 16′, 2x 8′, 4′ and buff stop, built in 1953. According to Martin Skowroneck (Cembalobau; Harpsichord Construction (Bergkirchen: Bochinsky, 2003), 261–62), this instrument is very globally based on a sketch of harpsichord no. 316 (known as “Bach-Cembalo” at the time) in the Berlin collection (which explains why it looks more or less historical in shape and especially, why it has this particular disposition). The inner construction is more or less modern (in want of better information at the time), with heavy frame members in ash, ribs under the bridge and a thin 4′ hitchpin rail. The boards for the case had to be prepared at a machine pool in Bremen, to be carried on foot across town for assembly in the basement of Skowroneck’s rented house in the Gravelottestraße. Knowing only this story, I was quite astonished to see such a neatly finished and gleaming harpsichord-shaped object on Menno’s photo!

Fast forward sixty years, to harpsichord no. 90. Read the rest of this entry »