Thursday 28 December 2017

Julian Perkins plays Bach on the clavichord

In this second of Julian Perkins' videos from the Cobbe Collection at Hatchlands Park, he plays the Prelude and Fugue no. 12 in F minor, BWV 881 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) from Das wohltemperierte Klavier, Book II (c1742). The instrument used, however, is not a harpsichord but reputedly J. S. Bach’s favourite keyboard instrument, the clavichord. 

The clavichord produces sound by striking strings with small metal blades called tangents, the sound produced is subtle but too quiet for anything other than domestic performance. The instrument's intimate tones compel the player to cultivate a singing tone through an assured touch, but it is also capable of sounding assertive. The instrument Julian plays was made by the Saxon builder Christian Gotthelf Hoffmann in 1784. The solid oak case belies an instrument that can sound exquisitely tender. It has a five-octave compass from FF to f3 and is unfretted (i.e. each note has its own pair of strings).

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