This work was formerly catalogued as the Toccata quasi Fantasia con Fuga (BWV Anh.178)
by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
The attribution to Henry Purcell is uncertain
||Sylvia Kind (harpsichord)
||Pandora Records/Al Goldstein Archive
||Source and alternative formats: |
From an album featuring a Revival harpsichord on Pandora Records. Ogg Vorbis files can be found here.
(Directly from readme page found in Source section)
The harpsichord, the dominant keyboard instrument for over 200 years, became virtually extinct in the 1800's, its role being assumed by the piano. In 1912 the French piano maker Pleyel constructed a harpsichord for Wanda Landowska. Wanda Landowska single handedly made a "revival" of the harpsichord using Pleyel's instrument.
Acoustically the instrument was similar to a piano. The soundboard and bridge was much heavier than any of classical harpsichords and consequently, to get more volume from the instrument, the strings were longer and heavier. This increased the tension imposed on the frame, which was reinforced with iron. The plectra were leather, rather than quill. This attenuated the sound output further. The resulting amplitude of sound is much less than classical harpsichords, For example the Flemish harpsichord presented on this site is a loud harpsichord. Most classical harpsichords are however also too quiet for large filled halls and noise-damaged ears. On the other hand the heavier construction of the "Revival" lengthened the sustain, since less sound energy was absorbed from the string by the vibrating soundboard. This resulted in a more organ-like sound. The weakness of sound is of no consequence to its recorded sound, which can be made thunderous by advancing the volume control. Thus for concert use these instruments should have electronic assistance. Under such circumstances they present a very interesting instrument and a legitimate practical member of the harpsichord family. They should not be "dusted off" because the French classical harpsichord is now in fashion.
The Neupert harpsichord is a member of the "Revival" family started by Pleyel. The one used was built in the "thirties." It has 4 sets of strings disposed as 16x8x8x4.
PDF scanned by Unknown
||Toccata quasi Fantasia con Fuga
|Opus/Catalogue NumberOp./Cat. No.
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|Composer Time PeriodComp. Period
||Organ (or harpsichord?)
- Although Purcell was an organist, there are only two staves to this piece, indicating harpsichord rather than organ.