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The opening Allegro from the Italian Concerto by J.S. Bach, performed on the harpsichord by Michael Peterson. Live, 4K UHD video from the Voices of Music Celebration of Bach concert, September, 2015.
The andante may be heard here:
Harpsichordist Michael Peterson has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. His repertoire spans nearly five hundred years, with an emphasis on music from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Many of his most recent projects include performances with American Bach Soloists, the Pacific Chamber Orchestra, the Monterey Symphony Chamber Players, Soli Deo Gloria and the Jubilate Baroque Orchestra. He also serves each summer as an accompanist for the SFEMS Baroque Workshop and the American Bach Soloists Academy.
As a specialist in early music, Michael draws inspiration from historical sources and uses them to help connect the music with his audience. His insight into the music stems from a variety of activities, ranging from performances on original instruments to the careful study of treatises.
Michael graduated with honors in harpsichord performance from Stanford University, where his teacher was Elaine Thornburgh. He has also recently received diplomas at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, where he studied harpsichord with Jacques Ogg and basso continuo with Patrick Ayrton. In addition, he has participated in master classes with Alan Curtis, Skip Sempé, and Frédérick Haas.
Double manual harpsichord by John Phillips, after Johann Heinrich Gräbner, Dresden, 1722.
About the harpsichord made by John Phillips:
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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