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On-line Book Review


Dimension: 29.6 x 20.9 x 1.5 cm
TITLE De Clavicordio IV: Proceedings of the IV International Clavichord Symposium, Magnano, 8-11 September 1999. Edited by Bernard Brauchli, Susan Brauchli and Alberto Galazzo.
PUBL. DETAILS Magnano: The International Centre for Clavichord Studies, 2000. 225p; Paperback. Price: Euro 46,50.
ISBN 88-900269-1-X
TO ORDER Musica Antica a Magnano, Via Roma 43, I-13887 Magnano BI, Italy.
Tel./Fax +39.015.679260. Email:
DESCRIPTION Proceedings of conference on Clavichord and music of the second half of the 18th century, esp. those of C. P. E. Bach.
WORKS COVERED Passing reference to Clavierbüchlein for A.M.Bach, B-minor Mass and Well-Tempered Clavier.
READERSHIP Scholars specialised in Clavichord and the keyboard music of the late 18th century.
RESEARCH CONTRIBUTION A wide range of papers on this narrow topic; the papers by Schulenberg and Hogwood are of particular interest for Bach scholars.

n his ground-breaking biography of Bach (1802), Forkel reported that clavichord is Bach’s favourite instrument. As one can assume, this information probably originated from C. P. E. Bach. We do not know with certainty if any work of his were written specifically for this instrument, although some scholars argue with the so-called ‘internal evidence’ that at least some preludes of Well-Tempered Clavier were written for it.

List of articles

Richards, Annette. ‘C.P.E. Bach's 'Farewell' and the speaking clavichord.’ : 15-35.

Schulenberg, David. ‘When did the clavichord become C.P.E. Bach's favourite instrument? An inquiry into expression, style and medium in eighteenth-century keyboard music.’ : 37-53.

Hogwood, Christopher. ‘"Our old great favourite"--Burney, Bach and the Bachists.’ : 55-85.

Morrow, Mary Sue. ‘The clavichord resounds, or the wider influence of C. P. E. Bach's 'empfindsamer' keyboard style.’ : 87-94.

Berg, Darrell. ‘C. P. E. Bach's songs for clavichord.’ : 95-104.

Huber, Alfons; Graf, Anna Savarain de. ‘A clavichord from Peru in the period of the imperial vice-royalty.’ : 105-117.

Martin, Darryl. ‘Tangent layout and triple-fretted clavichord tuning.’ : 119-126.

Libin, Laurence; Klaus, Sabine K.. ‘Two Spanish clavichords in private U. S. collections.’ : 127-138.

Helenius-Öberg, Eva. ‘The Swedish clavichord around 1800.’ : 139-146.

Nex, Jenny; Whitehead, Lance. ‘A preliminary investigation into the stringing of Swedish clavichords.’ : 147-160.

Speerstra, Joel. ‘Documenting a clavichord by Lindholm and Söderström and a brief history of Swedish measurements.’ : 161-176.

Adlam, Derek. ‘Conservation ethics.’ : 177-186.

Bavington, Peter. ‘A maker's secrets revealed: restoration of a 1784 clavichord by C. G. Hoffmann.’ : 187-201.

Pollens, Stewart. ‘A Pantalonclavichord by C. Kintzing of Neuwied, 1763.’ : 203-213.

The range of topics covered is very wide


To proceed from here, we need to re-examine Forkel’s statement from its own context, i.e. from C.P. E. Bach’s viewpoint. For this enquiry, this book may prove to be very useful.

It consists of fourteen papers that were read at the fourth International Symposium on the clavichord in Magnano (Italy), in 8-11 September 1999. It is a biennial event, and that year the main topic was “C.P.E. Bach and the clavichord”.

The range of topics covered by the papers is very wide indeed. There are papers on the role of instrument for C.P.E. Bach’s productive output, on the specific instruments, and on the issues of tuning and restoration. While there is no direct discussion on J. S. Bach and his works, the papers by Schulenberg and Hogwood are of particular interest for Bach scholars.

Even though there is no direct reference to the works of J. S. Bach, Schulenberg’s approach—revisiting the evidence and reassessing it from a wider context—is worth reading, as it not only addresses the context of C.P.E. Bach’s use of the clavichord (which may then be extended to re-examine the above-mentioned reference by Forkel) but also applies equally well to the study on J. S. Bach’s use on clavichord itself. 

But to me the most useful for my studying J. S. Bach is Hogwood’s study of Charles Burney’s notebooks entitled “Materials towards the History of German Music and Musicians 1772” (Yale University, Osborn Shelves c 100), which appear to record Burney’s changing views on Bach’s works; they attest quite different account of his views on Bach when compared with what he said in his published books. In addition, Hogwood’s surveys of musicians around C.P.E. Bach and their role as ‘Bachists’ are also of great value for scholars working in the reception of Bach’s music in the late 18th century.

Published online on 13 August 2002

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