T H E   S O U N D S   O F   E U R O P E A N   R E V I V A L   H A R P S I C H O R D S

AMMER     GOBLE     GOFF     NEUPERT     PLEYEL     SASSMANN     SPERRHAKE     WITTMAYER


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

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 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 (1945-2017), the company began building instruments based on historical models at a new workshop in Leipzig. The firm closed in 1988, although Jürgen Ammer continued building historical instruments at his workshop in Schauenburg.

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

BOHUSLAV MARTINŮ
Concerto for Harpsichord and Small Orchestra   [I. Poco allegro]
Zuzana Růžičková, harpsichord
Prague Chamber Soloists conducted by Kurt Sanderling
Supraphon SUA 50 926 (LP)
Recorded 1967

SERGEI PROKOFIEV
Visions Fugitives (Op 22)   [I, X, XI, XV]
János Sebestyén, harpsichord
Hungaroton SLPX 1181 (LP)
Recorded 1963

VÁCLAV VINCENC MAŠEK
Concerto for Three Harpsichords and Wind Octet in D major   [III. Finale. Allegretto]
Josef Hála, Aleš Bílek & Zdeněk Kožina, harpsichords
Collegium Musicum Pragense lead by František Vajnar
Supraphon 1 11 1839 (LP)
Recorded 1975

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

Rafael Puyana
Rafael Puyana
Zuzana Růžičková
Zuzana Růžičková

GOBLE     www.gobleharpsichords.co.uk
Robert Goble (1903-1991), 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 cycle of Bach's harpsichord concertos for Philips and Genoveva Gálvez's many solo and ensemble recordings for Hispavox. The Goble workshop continues to operate today, offering historical instruments.

VIKTOR KALABIS
Six Two-Part Canonical Inventions (Op 20)   [I. Canon in 5]
Giedré Lukšaité-Mrázková, harpsichord
HAMU HF 0006 2131 (CD)
Recorded 1999

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Concerto for Two Harpsichords and Strings in C minor   [I. Allegro]
Raymond Leppard & Philip Ledger, harpsichords
English Chamber Orchestsra conducted by Raymond Leppard
Philips 6514 276 (LP)
Recorded 1982

RAFAEL ANGLÉS
Aria in D minor
Genoveva Gálvez, harpsichord
Hispavox HHS 10 398 (LP)
Recorded 1971

MANUEL PONCE
Preludio for Guitar and Harpsichord
Rafael Puyana, harpsichord
John Williams, guitar
Columbia Masterworks M 31194 (LP)
Recorded 1971

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in A major  [III. Allegro]
George Malcolm, harpsichord
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields conducted by Neville Marriner
Decca SXL 6385 (LP)
Recorded 1968

Miklós Spányi
Miklós Spányi
Isolde Ahlgrimm
Isolde Ahlgrimm
Giedré Lukšaité-Mrázková
Giedré Lukšaité-Mrázková

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. His harpsichords, with their unique and immediately identifiable sound, became familiar through Thurston Dart's many L'Oiseau-Lyre recordings, George Malcolm's popular Decca recordings, and Valda Aveling's famous Scarlatti recitals. 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.

DOMENICO SCARLATTI
Sonata in B major (K 245)
George Malcolm, harpsichord
Decca LL 963 (LP)
Recorded 1953

GEORGE MALCOLM
Variations on a Theme by Mozart for Four Harpsichords
Eileen Joyce, Thurston Dart, George Malcolm & Denis Vaughan, harpsichords
His Master's Voice CLP 1120 (LP)
Recorded 1956

THOMAS ARNE
Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra in G minor   [III. Adagio   IV. Vivace]
George Malcolm, harpsichord
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields conducted by Neville Marriner
Argo ZRG 577 (LP)
Recorded 1967

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (arranged by RAYMOND LEPPARD)
Concerto for Four Harpsichords and Orchestra in F major (Wq 46)   [III. Allegro assai]
George Malcolm, Valda Aveling, Geoffrey Parsons & Simon Preston, harpsichords
English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Raymond Leppard
Decca SXL 6318 (LP)
Recorded 1966

ALEC TEMPLETON
Bach Goes to Town (Prelude and Fugue in Swing)
George Malcolm, harpsichord
Decca CEP 5502 (LP)
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 long-associated with historic instruments, such as Gustav Leonhardt and Blandine Verlet, 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. Zuzana Růžičková and Luciano Sgrizzi made many recordings on Neuperts for Erato, as did Robert Veyron-Lacroix for his second traversal of Bach's harpsichord concertos in 1968. Located in Bamberg, Neupert still offers their Serien instruments, although they now focus on historical models.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Prelude and Fugue in E-flat minor/D-sharp minor (BWV 853)
Robert Veyron-Lacroix, harpsichord
Erato STU 70513 (LP)
Recorded 1968

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (after ANTONIO VIVALDI)
Concerto for Four Harpsichords and Strings in A minor (BWV 1065)   [I. Allegro]
Robert Veyron-Lacroix, Anne-Marie Beckensteiner, Laurence Boulay & Hans Goverts, harpsichords
Jean-François Paillard Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jean-François Paillard
Erato STU 70448 (LP)
Recorded 1968

JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU
Pièces de Clavecin en Concerts   [Quatrième Concert]
János Sebestyén, harpsichord
Lóránt Kovács, flute   László Mező, cello
Hungaroton SLPX 11453 (LP)
Recorded 1969

CARL PHILIPP EMMANUEL BACH
Concerto for Harpsichords and Strings in G minor (Wq 6)   [III. Allegro]
Luciano Sgrizzi, harpsichord
Jean-François Paillard Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jean-François Paillard
Erato STU 70670 (LP)
Recorded 1971

BÉLA BARTÓK
Ostinato (Mikrokosmos 146)
Huguette Dreyfus,, harpsichord
Harmonia Mundi HMO 30791 (LP)
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 she used throughout her career for concerts and recordings. Her students were expected to follow her example, resulting in dozens of recordings on Pleyel harpsichords by Ruggero Gerlin and Isabelle Nef for L'Oiseau-Lyre. 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 first traversal of Bach's harpsichord concertos for Erato in 1959, and a number of solo and ensemble recordings by Anne-Marie Beckensteiner, founding member of Jean-François Paillard's famous chamber orchestra.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (doubtful attribution)
Fantasia in C minor (BWV Anh 86)
Ruggero Gerlin, harpsichord
L'Oiseau Lyre OL 50097 (LP)
Recorded 1955

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute, Violin and Strings in A minor (BWV 1044)   [I. Allegro]
Anne-Marie Beckensteiner, harpsichord
Christian Lardé, flute   Huguette Fernandez, violin
Jean-Marie Leclair Instrumental Ensemble conducted by Jean-François Paillard
Erato STE 50003 (LP)
Recorded 1958

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

ALEXANDER VOORMOLEN
Suite de Clavecin   [IV. Toccatina]
Liesbeth Hoppen, harpsichord
Arsis Classics 96006 (CD)
Recorded 1995

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL
Suite in D minor (HWV 437)   [III. Sarabande]
Irma Rogell, harpsichord
Mnemosyne MN 6 (LP)
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 and continued on this path until the company closed sometime after 2000. Heinz Jansen's Südwest-Tonstudio in Stuttgart, responsible for hundreds of recordings for Vox, seems to have had Sassmann instruments at their disposal, and these can be heard in many solo and ensemble recordings, including Martin Galling's complete edition of Bach's solo harpsichord music.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Prelude and Fughetta in G major (BWV 902a)
Martin Galling, harpsichord
Vox Box SVBX 5434 (LP)
Recorded circa 1964

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (after JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH)
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in G major (KV 107, No 2)   [I. Allegro]
Martin Galling, harpsichord
Stuttgart Soloists
Vox/Turnabout TV-S 34312 (LP)
Recorded circa 1967

MANUEL DE FALLA
Concerto for Harpsichord and Five Instruments   [II. Lento]
Martin Galling, harpsichord
Robert Dohn, flute   Willy Schnell, oboe   Hans Lemser, clarinet
Susanne Lautenbacher, violin   Thomas Blees, cello
Vox/Turnabout TV-S 34588 (LP)
Recorded 1967

KARL DITTERS VON DITTERSDORF
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in A major   [III. Rondo: Allegretto]
János Sebestyén, harpsichord
Hungarian Chamber Orchestra lead by Vilmos Tátrai
Vox/Turnabout TV-S 34325 (LP)
Recorded 1968

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord in G major (BWV 1019)   [II. Largo]
Martin Galling, harpsichord
Susanne Lautenbacher, violin
Vox SVUX 52027 (LP)
Recorded circa 1965

Elisabeth Chojnacka
Elisabeth Chojnacka
Elżbieta Stefańska
Elżbieta Stefańska
Malcolm Hamilton
Malcolm Hamilton

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. Sperrhake apparently never made the transition to historical instruments before their 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 and Hungarian Radio.

ANTONIO SOLER
Sonata in G minor (R 81)
Elisabeth Chojnacka, harpsichord
Erato STU 71163 (LP)
Recorded 1977

ANONYMOUS (attributed to CARLOS SEIXAS)
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in G minor   [III. Allegro]
János Sebestyén, harpsichord
Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra lead by János Rolla
Hungaroton SLPX 12392 (LP)
Recorded 1982

JOSEPH HAYDN
Sonata in E minor (Hob XVI: 47bis)   [II. Allegro]
János Sebestyén, harpsichord
Hungaroton SLPX 11614-17 (LP)
Recorded 1972

FERENC FARKAS
Concertino for Harpsichord and Strings   [II. Andante]
Miklós Spányi, harpsichord
Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra lead by János Rolla
Toccata Classics TOCC 0230 (CD)
Recorded 2015

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Sonata for Cello and Harpsichord in G major (BWV 1027)   [IV. Allegro moderato]
Zuzana Růžičková, harpsichord
Pierre Fournier, cello
Erato STU 70812 (LP)
Recorded 1973

Luciano Sgrizzi
Luciano Sgrizzi
János Sebestyén
János Sebestyén

WITTMAYER
Wittmayer was yet another prolific producer of Serien style instruments. Founded by Kurt Wittmayer and located in Wolfratshausen, Germany, his workshop eventually began producing instruments based on historical models in the late 1960s after some experiments 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. Other notable recordings of Wittmayers include Isolde Ahlgrimm's series of Bach recordings for the Swiss label Belvedere and Robert Veyron-Lacroix's sought-after Bach recordings with violinist Reinhold Barchet for Erato. 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 concertos by C. P. E. Bach for Nonesuch.

DOMENICO SCARLATTI
Sonata in G minor (K 450)
Malcolm Hamilton, harpsichord
Delos DEL 15321 (LP)
Recorded 1973

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in D minor (BWV 1052)   [I. Allegro]
Elżbieta Stefańska, harpsichord
Munich Chamber Orchestra conducted by Hans Stadlmair
EMI Electrola C 187 30212-13 (LP)
Recorded circa 1974

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

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord in E major (BWV 1016)   [II. Allegro]
Robert Veyron-Lacroix, harpsichord
Reinhold Barchet, violin
Erato STE 50079 (LP)
Recorded 1960

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in D major (Wq 18)   [I. Allegro]
Malcolm Hamilton, harpsichord
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra conducted by Gerard Schwarz
Nonesuch D 79015 (LP)
Recorded 1980

 
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 can be heard 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]
E. Power Biggs, pedal-harpsichord
Columbia Masterworks M 32878 (LP)
Recorded 1970

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL
Chaconne in G major (HWV 435)
Fernando Valenti, harpsichord
Westminster WMS 1016 (LP)
Recorded circa 1965

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord in C minor (BWV 1017)   [IV. Allegro]
Fernando Valenti, harpsichord
James Buswell, violin
Vanguard/Cardinal Series VCS 10080-81 (LP)
Recorded circa 1969

DOMENICO SCARLATTI
Sonata in B minor (K 27)
Fernando Valenti, harpsichord
Musical Heritage Society MHS 555 (LP)
Recorded 1964

VITTORIO RIETI
Partita for Flute, Oboe, String Quartet and Harpsichord   [II. Scherzino: Vivace]
Sylvia Marlowe, harpsichord
Samuel Baron, flute   Ronald Roseman, oboe
Charles Libove & Anahid Ajemian, violins   Harry Zaratzian, viola   Charles McCracken, cello
Decca DL 710135 (LP)
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 and RCA using Herz harpsichords, as did Anthony Newman for CBS. Other harpsichordists who recorded on Herz instruments include Gerald Ranck, Irma Rogell, and Susanne Shapiro.

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN
Fantaisie in C major (TWV 33: 14)
Joseph Payne, harpsichord
Vox Box SVBX 5447 (LP)
Recorded 1971

ANTONIO SOLER
Concerto for Two Harpsichords in A minor   [I. Andante]
Anthony Newman & Joseph Payne, harpsichords
Vox/Turnabout TV-S 34136 (LP)
Recorded 1966

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

HENRY PURCELL
Ground (ZT 681)
Gerald Ranck, harpsichord
Musical Heritage Society OR 420-21 (LP)
Recorded circa 1970

DOMENICO SCARLATTI
Sonata in E major (K 531)   Sonata in G major (K 153)
Joseph Payne, harpsichord
Vox/Turnabout TV-S 34434 (LP)
Recorded 1970

 

W E B S I T E S   D E V O T E D   T O   EUROPEAN REVIVAL HARPSICHORDISTS

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