It's Remembrance Day here in Canada (Veteran's Day in the US) and I called my grandparents to see what they were going to be doing. My grandfather is 101 and was a gunner and radio operator in WWII. They said that they would be waiting at home for an oven repairman to see if they can fix the oven they've had since they moved here in the 70s. We are going to visit them this weekend.
My video today was going to be something on a harpsichord - last week we got two harpsichords from a family whose mother played and taught, and wanted to see them restored to make music again, not just scrapped for parts. I spent some time this week learning how to engage the different sets of strings and tune both of them, but in the end neither is quite ready for playing. I've attached a few pictures, hopefully in a few weeks' time I will have something to share.
One of the nicest things about getting these instruments is that they came with a small collection of early keyboard music, surprisingly little that we already had. Among several compilations of early keyboard music was Volume II of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, which contains a lot of music that was written in the transition between the Renaissance and Baroque periods. To put it more into context, this piece, Giles Farnaby's "Tower Hill", was written at least 40 years before J.S. Bach was born.
Interpreting of this music seems to mostly involve playing it exactly as written with highly specific ornamentation, or to arrange it for other instruments. I played a lot of Giles Farnaby's music in recorder groups growing up, and this clarinet version shows a simple arrangement, although just reading it straight down with no repetition seems kind of on the shorter side. When I showed some of this music to Danilo Perez during my time studying with him in Boston, he immediately looked for ways to get into each little section, repeating themes and using the ornamentation more as a guideline. In this version, I repeat the two thematic sections of the piece with my own ornaments loosely placed where notated.
Don't forget about my class this Saturday at 11AM, I will be looking at a Fred Hersch performance of a Monk tune. Aubrey will be joining us next week instead.