Philosophy

There are many different approaches to harpsichord building nowadays: some builders reproduce an instrument trying to get as close as possible to the original, also using the same techniques and tools they could have used in the past; some others have the idea that “if the builders of the past had our technology and modern tools, they would have made instruments in a different way”. Who knows.

I personally believe that copying something that somebody else made hundreds of years ago in every single detail could be seen as a kind of museum perversion, and risks not to bring any real contribution to the art of music, if done without the right ideas behind it.

But also disrespect the masters of the past and think their instruments needed our improvements is something I find at least arrogant. This sounds like the idea that if Bach had a modern grand piano, he would have used it, and so we have to play his music on a piano. Maybe yes, maybe not, but as a matter of fact he didn’t have a modern grand piano, as the builders of the past didn’t have modern tools.

I think that copying a harpsichord or “improving” it, only works if one tries and catch the spirit of the ancient builders. Not only copy their techniques, but to learn and think the way they would have thought at their time, learn their tradition, their school, understand why they did something in a certain way, which is what the majority of builders do.

This is the reason why, besides the reproductions of original models I decided to design my own ravalement of Flemish instruments, even though there are many Flemish harpsichords already ravalé (like the famous Ruckers in Colmar).

Of course the starting point is always an existing instrument and this because we need some specific measurements and concepts that were common to a certain type of harpsichord building tradition.

A great care is also put in the choice of wood, especially soundboard wood, and all those parts that have a direct implication in the production and transmission of the sound. It took a long time and many experiments, for instance, to understand how the relation between the variable thickness of the soundboard, the length, thickness, tension and material of the strings, the section and wood of the bridge would directly affect the quality of the sound produced by every type of instrument.

Being myself also a player I always put a special attention on the action. My instruments are worldwide known for having, besides a beautiful, dark and round sound, a perfect, precise, light and reliable action.

I personally make in every part and test every single keyboard for days, before the instrument can leave the workshop

My instruments are owned by many institutions, ensembles and players around the world such as:

University of music and theatre “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” , Leipzig
Contrasto Armonico ensemble, The Netherlands
Michael Borgstede, Tel Aviv
Rana Kulturskole, Mo i Rana (Norway)
Ensemble La Pellegrina, The Netherlands
Béla Bartók Music School, Békéscsaba, Hungary

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