CD: The Art of the Harpsichord, Performed by Byron Schenkman

CD: The Art of the Harpsichord, Performed by Byron Schenkman

National Music Museum

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CD: The Art of the Harpsichord, Performed by Byron Schenkman

In The Art of the Harpsichord: Cabezón to Mozart, keyboardist Byron Schenkman plays eight historic NMM keyboards.

  • Harpsichord, Neapolitan school, ca. 1530
  • Harpsichord by Giacomo Ridolfi, Rome, ca. 1660-1690
  • Spinet by Charles Haward, London, 1689
  • Octave virginal by Onofrio Guarracino, Naples, 1694
  • Harpsichord by José Calisto, Portugal, 1780
  • Spinet by Johann Heinrich Silbermann, Strasbourg, 1785
  • Harpsichord by Jacques Germain, Paris, 1785
  • Harpsichord by Kirckman, London, 1798

The CD cover includes an insert "Notes on the Instruments" by John Koster 

Byron Schenkman. Recorded at the National Music Museum on August 22-29, 2014.  Duration: 65' 15''


Track List

Anonymous Neopolitan Harpsichord ca. 1530, NMM 14408

  1. Diferencias sobre el canto llano del caballero
  2. Il Ballo dell'Intorcia
  3. Chi no crede
Harpsichord by Giacomo Ridolfi ca. 1675, NMM 4657
  1. Toccata I & Passacaglia
Spinet by Charles Haward London, 1689, NMM 10773
  1. Ayre
  2. A New Irish Tune

Octave Virginal by Onofrio Guarracino Naples1694, NMM 6041

  1. Toccata di passacaglia

Harpsichord by Jose' Calisto Portugal 1780, NMM 6204

  1. Sonata in G Minor, K. 426
  2. Sonata in G Major, K.427
  3. Sonata in B Minor, K. 27

Spinet by Johann Heinrich Silbermann Strasbourg, 1785, NMM 6205

  1. Le Moulinet
  2. Sonata II in F Major, W. 56/4

Harpsichord by Jacques Germain Paris, 1785, NMM 3327

  1. La Pothoüin
  2. Les Étoiles
  3. Variations on "Mio caro Adone"

Harpsichord by Joseph Kirckman London, 1798, NMM 3328

  1. Sonata in D Major, Hob. XVI:24
  2. Minuet in G Minor, G. 242


    The Art of the Harpsichord
    Byron Schenkman on eight historical harpsichords 
    in the National Music Museum

    "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."

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