Harpsichord copies after various 18th-c. German originals hit the market some time around the late 1980s. Some German harpsichords, the originals as well as their copies, belong to the instruments dearest to me (there is certainly nothing amiss with this type of instrument). Others have, in my experience, their share of problems. Let’s have a look.
I am especially thinking of one-manual German harpsichords after Michael Mietke, which are usually based on a not-quite-original-any-more original preserved in Berlin. Its short scaling – taken at a pitch of around 415Hz – suggests an instrument entirely strung in brass, and this is how most copies are made. The more sonorous ones have a certain (lute players, excuse me) lute-like quality. In the more intimate specimens, we often hear a rather quiet, silvery tone, which is easily buried in ensemble playing. (more…)