Rafael Puyana
Rafael Puyana
Zuzana Růžičková
Zuzana Růžičková

AMMER     www.ammer-cembalo.de
Ammer was one of several German manufacturers of mass-produced harpsichords, or Serien Instrumente. Founded in 1927 and located in Eisenberg, in what later became East Germany, Ammer harpsichords were found throughout Eastern Europe. They can be heard on nearly all of the Supraphon recordings by Zuzana Růžičková and Josef Hála, as well as early Hungaroton recordings by János Sebestyén. The Austrian harpsichordist Isolde Ahlgrimm used two early Ammers, one from 1937, the other from 1941, to record her Bach edition for Philips. In 1974, under the direction of Jürgen Ammer, the company began building instruments based on historical models at a new workshop in Leipzig. The firm closed in 1988, although Jürgen Ammer continues to build historical instruments at his workshop in Schauenburg.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Partita in C minor (BWV 826)   [I. Sinfonia]
From PHILIPS A00 169-71 L
Isolde Ahlgrimm, harpsichord
Recorded 1952

BOHUSLAV MARTINŮ
Concerto for Harpsichord and Small Orchestra   [I. Poco allegro]
From SUPRAPHON SUA 50 926
Zuzana Růžičková, harpsichord
Prague Chamber Soloists conducted by Kurt Sanderling

Recorded 1967

JIŘÍ ANTONÍN BENDA
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in C major   [I. Mezzo allegro]
From SUPRAPHON 1111 2761-62
Josef Hála, harpsichord
Antonín Novák & Vojtěch Jouza, violins; Karel Špelina, viola;
František Sláma, cello; František Pošta, bass

Recorded 1978

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH
Sonata in E minor (Wq 65/39)   [II. Largo con tenerezza]
Live Performance
Miklós Spányi, harpsichord
Recorded 2014

GOBLE     www.gobleharpsichords.co.uk
Robert Goble, builder of harpsichords and clavichords, worked with Arnold Dolmetsch for twelve years before setting up his own workshop in Oxford, England in 1937. His instruments, known for their quality and reliability, were found throughout Europe. George Malcolm claimed it as his favorite harpsichord and used it for many recordings, including a solo Bach recital and series of Bach concertos for EMI, as well as his Decca recording of concertos by J. C. Bach and Haydn. Other notable recordings include Raymond Leppard's complete traversal of Bach's harpsichord concertos for Philips and Genoveva Gálvez's many solo and ensemble recordings for the Spanish label Hispavox. The Goble workshop continues to operate today, offering historical instruments.

JOSÉ LARRAÑAGA
Sonata in D minor
From HISPAVOX HHS 10 398
Genoveva Gálvez, harpsichord
Recorded 1971

MANUEL PONCE
Preludio for Guitar and Harpsichord
From COLUMBIA M 31194
Rafael Puyana, harpsichord
John Williams, guitar

Recorded 1971

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in A major   [III. Allegro]
From DECCA SXL 6385
George Malcolm, harpsichord
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields conducted by Neville Marriner

Recorded 1968

FRANZPETER GOEBELS
Bird-Boogie
From SVERIGES RADIO
János Sebestyén, harpsichord
Recorded 1981

Fritz Neumeyer
Fritz Neumeyer
Miklós Spányi
Miklós Spányi
Josef Hála
Josef Hála

GOFF
Thomas Goff (1898-1975) was a London builder of clavichords and harpsichords. He built only one type of harpsichord: a large two-manual instrument, elaborately veneered, with a complicated action that offered the performer some control over dynamics through the use of pedals. Goff sold few of these instruments, preferring to keep them as rentals. The Goff harpsichord, with its unique and immediately identifiable sound, became well-known through Thurston Dart's many L'Oiseau-Lyre recordings, Valda Aveling's famous Scarlatti recital for RCA, and George Malcolm's popular Decca recordings. Goff harpsichords were also played at the annual concerts of music for four harpsichords held at London's Royal Festival Hall during the 1950s and 60s.

THOMAS ARNE
Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra in G minor   [III. Adagio   IV. Vivace]
From ARGO ZRG 577
George Malcolm, harpsichord
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields conducted by Neville Marriner

Recorded 1967

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (reconstructed by THURSTON DART)
Suite for Two Harpsichords in C minor   [II. Courante]
From COLUMBIA M 31240
Thurston Dart, Goff harpsichord (right channel); Igor Kipnis, Goble harpsichord (left channel)
Recorded 1969

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (arranged by RAYMOND LEPPARD)
Concerto for Four Harpsichords and Orchestra in F major (Wq 46)   [III. Allegro assai]
From DECCA SXL 6318
George Malcolm, Valda Aveling, Geoffrey Parsons & Simon Preston, harpsichords
English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Raymond Leppard

Recorded 1966

ALEC TEMPLETON
Bach Goes to Town (Prelude and Fugue in Swing)
From DECCA CEP 5502
George Malcolm, harpsichord
Recorded 1960

Robert Veyron-Lacroix
Robert Veyron-Lacroix
Anne-Marie Beckensteiner
Anne-Marie Beckensteiner
Huguette Dreyfus
Huguette Dreyfus

NEUPERT     www.jc-neupert.de
The German piano firm of J. C. Neupert began building harpsichords in 1906, eventually becoming the most ubiquitous of the Serien instrument manufacturers. Their harpsichords were found everywhere and were played, at some point, by nearly every harpsichordist active during the 20th century revival of the instrument. Even performers now long associated with historic instruments, such as Gustav Leonhardt and Huguette Dreyfus, took their turn. Notable recordings of Neuperts include Ralph Kirkpatrick's 1950s Bach series for Archiv and Karl Richter's many recordings for both Archiv and Telefunken. For Erato, Zuzana Růžičková and Luciano Sgrizzi made several recordings on Neuperts, and Robert Veyron-Lacroix used them for his second traversal of the Bach harpsichord concertos in 1968. Located in Bamberg, Neupert still offers their Serien instruments, although they now focus on historical models.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
"The Musical Offering" (BWV 1079)   [Ricercar a 3]
From VANGUARD/BACH GUILD BGS 5070
Fritz Neumeyer, harpsichord
Recorded 1962

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (after ANTONIO VIVALDI)
Concerto for Four Harpsichords and Strings in A minor (BWV 1065)   [I. Allegro]]
From ERATO STU 70448
Robert Veyron-Lacroix, Anne-Marie Beckensteiner, Laurence Boulay & Hans Goverts, harpsichords
Jean-François Paillard Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jean-François Paillard

Recorded 1968

MANUEL BLASCO DE NEBRA
Sonata in F-sharp minor (Op 1, No 5)
From ERATO STU 70389
Luciano Sgrizzi, harpsichord
Recorded 1968

BÉLA BARTÓK
Ostinato (Mikrokosmos 146)
From HARMONIA MUNDI HMO 30791
Huguette Dreyfus, harpsichord
Recorded 1969

Genoveva Gálvez
Genoveva Gálvez
George Malcolm
George Malcolm

PLEYEL
The French piano manufacturer Pleyel began building harpsichords in the late 1880s, but it was not until their association with the legendary Wanda Landowska in the early 20th century that their harpsichords became famous. Landowska worked with the Pleyel engineers to produce a unique harpsichord that met her specifications, and this is the instrument used throughout her career for concerts and recordings. Her students were expected to follow her example, resulting in many recordings on Pleyel harpsichords by both Ruggero Gerlin and Isabelle Nef for the L'Oiseau-Lyre label. In the United States, Sylvia Marlowe recorded on a Pleyel for Capitol and Rafael Puyana for Mercury. The instrument was also used by musicians outside of Landowska's circle, particularly in France. Examples include Robert Veyron-Lacroix's 1958 traversal of Bach's harpsichord concertos for Erato, and a number of solo and ensemble recordings by Anne-Marie Beckensteiner, harpsichordist for the Jean-François Paillard Chamber Orchestra.

FRANÇOIS COUPERIN
Dix-huitième Ordre   [VI. Le tic-toc-choc, ou Les maillotins]
From ERATO LDE 1038
Anne-Marie Beckensteiner, harpsichord
Recorded 1955

GIOVANNI PAISIELLO
Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra in C major   [III. Rondo: Allegro]
From L'OISEAU LYRE OL 50009
Ruggero Gerlin, harpsichord
L'Ensemble Orchestral de L'Oiseau-Lyre conducted by Louis de Froment

Recorded circa 1952

WILHELM FRIEDEMANN BACH
Concerto for Two Harpsichords in F major (F 10)   [I. Allegro moderato]
From MERCURY SR 90322
Rafael Puyana & Genoveva Gálvez, harpsichords
Recorded 1963

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL
Suite in D minor (HWV 437)   [III. Sarabande]
From MNEMOSYNE MN 6
Irma Rogell, harpsichord
Recorded 1982

Irma Rogell
Irma Rogell
Ruggero Gerlin
Ruggero Gerlin
Martin Galling
Martin Galling

SASSMANN
Martin Sassmann spent the war years as a Messerschmitt pilot before beginning work for Neupert in 1948. He started his own workshop in 1955, finally settling in Hückeswagen, Germany in 1966. His early instruments were of the Serien style, but by the late 1960s he began moving toward a more historical design, continuing on this path until the company closed sometime after 2000. Heinz Jansen's Südwest-Tonstudio in Stuttgart, responsible for hundreds of recordings for the Vox label, seems to have owned a Sassmann instrument which can be heard on many solo and ensemble recordings, including Martin Galling's complete edition of Bach's solo harpsichord music.

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in G major (KV 107, No 2)   [I. Allegro]
From VOX/TURNABOUT TV-S 34312
Martin Galling, harpsichord
Stuttgart Soloists

Recorded circa 1967

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Prelude and Fughetta in E minor (BWV 900)
From VOX BOX SVBX 5434
Martin Galling, harpsichord
Recorded circa 1964

MANUEL DE FALLA
Concerto for Harpsichord and Five Instruments   [II. Lento]
From VOX/TURNABOUT TV-S 34588
Martin Galling, harpsichord
Robert Dohn, flute; Willy Schnell, oboe; Hans Lemser, clarinet;
Susanne Lautenbacher, violin; Thomas Blees, cello

Recorded 1967

KARL DITTERS VON DITTERSDORF
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in A major   [III. Rondo: Allegretto]
From VOX/TURNABOUT TV-S 34325
János Sebestyén, harpsichord
Hungarian Chamber Orchestra lead by Vilmos Tátrai

Recorded 1968

Isolde Ahlgrimm
Isolde Ahlgrimm
Malcolm Hamilton
Malcolm Hamilton
Elżbieta Stefańska
Elżbieta Stefańska

SPERRHAKE
The Sperrhake workshop in Passau, Germany was at one time the largest producer of Serien style instruments. Its founder, Kurt Sperrhake, built pianos and sold Ammer harpsichords before starting his own company in 1948. At its height, the workshop employed 60 people and the instruments received widespread distribution, thanks to a successful network of agents. Apparently, Sperrhake never made the transition to historical instruments before the workshop closed. Parts and information on their instruments are still available from Neupert. Despite their widespread use, Sperrhakes have not fared as well on recordings. For Erato, Zuzana Růžičková recorded Bach's English Suites, Luciano Sgrizzi made four recordings devoted to Handel and Scarlatti, and Elisabeth Chojnacka recorded a Soler recital in addition to contemporary works. In Hungary, Sperrhakes were available in most of the important musical institutions during the 1970s, resulting in many recordings by János Sebestyén for Hungaroton.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
"English Suite" in D minor (BWV 811)   [I. Prélude]
From ERATO ERA 9040-42
Zuzana Růžičková, harpsichord
Recorded 1972

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Sonata for Cello and Harpsichord in D major (BWV 1027)   [IV. Allegro moderato]
From ERATO STU 70812
Zuzana Růžičková, harpsichord
Pierre Fournier, cello

Recorded 1973

ANONYMOUS (attributed to CARLOS SEIXAS)
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in G minor   [III. Allegro]
From HUNGAROTON SLPX 12392
János Sebestyén, harpsichord
Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra lead by János Rolla

Recorded 1982

JOSEPH HAYDN
Sonata in E minor/major (Hob XVI: 47)   [II. Allegro]
From HUNGAROTON SLPX 11614-17
János Sebestyén, harpsichord
Recorded 1972

WITTMAYER
Wittmayer was yet another prolific producer of Serien style instruments. Founded by Kurt Wittmayer and located in Wolfratshausen, Germany, his workshop began producing instruments based on historical models by the late 1960s after some experimentation with electrical internal amplification. The most famous recorded example of a Wittmayer is undoubtedly Glenn Gould's Handel suites for CBS, his only commercial harpsichord recording. In the United States, Malcolm Hamilton was apparently devoted to his 1962 "Bach" model, using it to record Scarlatti and Handel for Delos, Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier for Everest and C. P. E. Bach concertos for Nonesuch. In Switzerland, Isolde Ahlgrimm made a series of Bach recordings for Belvedere.

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL
Suite in D minor (HWV 428)   [I. Prelude]
From DELOS DEL 15322
Malcolm Hamilton, harpsichord
Recorded circa 1972

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in D minor (BWV 1052)   [I. Allegro]
From EMI ELECTROLA C 187 30212-13
Elżbieta Stefańska, harpsichord
Munich Chamber Orchestra conducted by Hans Stadlmair

Recorded circa 1974

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
"French Suite" in G major (BWV 816)   [III. Sarabande]
From BELVEDERE ELY 06108
Isolde Ahlgrimm, harpsichord
Recorded 1965

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in A major (Wq 8)   [I. Allegro]
From NONESUCH D 79015
Malcolm Hamilton, harpsichord
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra conducted by Gerard Schwarz

Recorded 1980

Luciano Sgrizzi
Luciano Sgrizzi
János Sebestyén
János Sebestyén

 

T W O   A M E R I C A N   B U I L D E R S

CHALLIS
John Challis (1907-1974) was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan. After spending four years with Arnold Dolmetsch in Surrey, England, he opened his own workshop in 1930, establishing himself as the only American builder of harpsichords at that time. Working first in his hometown, he later relocated to Detroit, then finally New York City. He was innovative in his techniques, using a cast aluminum frame, metal soundboard and rubber jacks. While not always pleasing to purists, his instruments were widely admired for their craftsmanship and played by prominent American harpsichordists, including Ralph Kirkpatrick and Sylvia Marlowe. Fernando Valenti, famous for his Scarlatti performances, played a Challis for much of his career and on dozens of recordings for Westminster and other labels. Organist E. Power Biggs made several popular recordings for CBS on a Challis pedal harpsichord, playing everything from Bach to Joplin.

JOHANN GOTTFRIED WALTHER (after ANTONIO VIVALDI)
Concerto in B minor (LV 133)   [I. Allegro]
From COLUMBIA M 32878
E. Power Biggs, pedal-harpsichord
Recorded 1970

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord in C minor (BWV 1017)   [IV. Allegro]
From VANGUARD/CARDINAL VCS 10080-81
Fernando Valenti, harpsichord
James Buswell, violin

Recorded circa 1969

DOMENICO SCARLATTI
Sonata in B minor (K 27)
From MUSICAL HERITAGE SOCIETY MHS 555
Fernando Valenti, harpsichord
Recorded 1964

VITTORIO RIETI
Partita for Flute, Oboe, String Quartet and Harpsichord   [II. Scherzino: Vivace]
From DECCA DL 710135
Sylvia Marlowe, harpsichord
Samuel Baron, flute; Ronald Roseman, oboe
Charles Libove & Anahid Ajemian, violins; Harry Zaratzian, viola; Charles McCracken, cello

Recorded 1966

E. Power Biggs
E. Power Biggs
Fernando Valenti
Fernando Valenti
Sylvia Marlowe
Sylvia Marlowe

Jospeh Payne
Joseph Payne
Anthony Newman
Anthony Newman
Christopher D. Lewis
Christopher D. Lewis

HERZ
Eric Herz (1919-2002) was born in Cologne, Germany. He played flute with the Israel Philharmonic before moving to the United States, where he spent two years working with Frank Hubbard and William Dowd. In 1953 he set up his own workshop in Harvard, Massachusetts, later moving to Cambridge. His instruments were loosely based on North European harpsichords, with the unique innovation of incorporating fiberglass into the case and soundboard. He retired in 1995. Like Challis, his instruments had a reputation for excellent craftsmanship. Joseph Payne made several popular recordings for Vox using Herz harpsichords, as did Anthony Newman for CBS. Other harpsichordists who recorded on Herz instruments include Gerald Ranck and Irma Rogell.

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN
Fantaisie in C major (TWV 33: 14)
From VOX BOX SVBX 5447
Joseph Payne, harpsichord
Recorded 1971

ANTONIO SOLER
Concerto for Two Harpsichords in A minor   [I. Andante]
From VOX/TURNABOUT TV-S 34136
Anthony Newman & Joseph Payne, harpsichords
Recorded 1966

MAURICE OHANA
Wamba
Live Performance
Christopher D. Lewis, harpsichord
Recorded 2011

DOMENICO SCARLATTI
Sonata in E major (K 531)   Sonata in G major (K 153)
From VOX/TURNABOUT TV-S 34434
Joseph Payne, harpsichord
Recorded 1970

 

 

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