The Fantasia in A Minor BWV 904, performed on the harpsichord by Yuko Tanaka. Live, 4K ultra high definition video from the Voices of Music “Celebration of Bach” concert, September, 2015.
Yuko Tanaka, a native of Tokyo, Japan, is active as harpsichord soloist and ensemble performer. Yuko performs with ensembles including Bertamo, Music of the Spheres, Archetti , Ensemble Montichiari, Musica Pacifica, and the American Bach Soloists. She has appeared with the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Ballet orchestra. Yuko is a director of SFEMS Music Discovery Workshop, maintains a private studio, conducts master classes, and appears as guest lecturer at various universities. Recent engagements include performances at the Frick Collection (New York City), Tage Alter Musik Regensburg (Germany) and the Istanbul International Music Festival. Yuko received a doctorate in early music from Stanford University and has studied with Margaret Fabrizio at Stanford University, Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam, and Ketil Haugsand in Oslo, Norway; she has recorded with Koch International and Delos International.
Double manual harpsichord by John Phillips, after Johann Heinrich Gräbner, Dresden, 1722.
Throughout his long career, J. S. Bach would have been intimately familiar with the so-called “middle German” harpsichords made locally in Thuringia and Saxony. Three of these instruments survive which were made during Bach’s lifetime, and, of these, two instruments were built by members of the Gräbner family in Dresden, who for five generations from the 17th through the 19th centuries built and repaired organs, harpsichords, clavichords, and eventually pianos.
The instrument used in tonight’s concert is based on the 1722 Johann Heinrich Gräbner preserved in the Villa Bertramka in Prague; this instrument is the earliest of four surviving Gräbner harpsichords: the 1722 Gräbner is a very good example of the large, middle-German style from Bach’s time. It is even possible that Bach met J. H. Gräbner, as the latter was the official court tuner when Bach journeyed to Dresden to match musical skills with Louis Marchand in 1717. One of Gräbner’s sons, Christian Heinrich, later studied organ with Bach in Leipzig.
Special thanks to Peter and Cynthia Hibbard for the use of the harpsichord in our Bach concert.
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