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Fr.Harpsichords

Philip Pickett: Trasuntino Inner

Trasuntino Inner

Specifications: This is a copy of the 1531 Trasuntino inner (Royal College of Music London) made for me recently by Joel Katzman of Amsterdam. Compass C/E-f3, 1x8, 1x4, iron strings, slab-sawn cypress soundboard, seagull quills, pitch a=348. There is an alternative compass keyboard (G/B-c3) which slots in to replace the f3 keyboard, and this transposes the instrument up to a=466.The 4ft strings pass through holes in the 8ft bridge.The stand is a copy of one in Beuermann's collection. This instrument will be used regularly for concerts and recordings by Sharona Joshua, the New London Consort and the Musicians of the Globe.

The sound is incredibly sweet and beautiful - very vocal, very musical, very controllable. The attack, ictus and decay are exactly as I have heard produced by a couple of surviving 16th-century Venetian instruments in playing condition. The instrument was used for the first time on 10 June in London's Purcell Room (350 seats) in a concert of early 16th-century Italian music including Antico intabulations and dances from the Venice Biblioteca Marciana MS. The musicians and audience were absolutely stunned by the beauty of the sound in the hall and the performance possibilities offered by the pitch and compass. No metallic nasties at all... just pure, carrying sound. It's not apparently particularly loud close to, but because of the quality it carried beautifully to the very back of the hall - even with the 8 alone every musical nuance could be heard, and with 8 and 4 together the instrument sounded incredibly full and organ-like. And we used the 4 as a solo stop. A number of professional harpsichordists and builders have examined the instrument, and all are convinced - by the sound, the pitch, and the possibilities offered to the performer by the compass.

Owner: Philip Pickett. Director New London Consort, Musicians of the Globe; Director of Early Music at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre; Artistic Director of the South Bank Centre's Early Music Festival and Purcell Room Early Music Series. Married to the Israeli harpsichordist/fortepianist Sharona Joshua, who I suppose is the REAL owner...

Owner: Philip Pickett
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