Posted inPlaylist

A Goldberg Variations Playlist

Writing about my musical path for the New York Times last month, I noted that the one strand of continuity for me, between instruments and repertoires, was Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Part of that continuity was my dissatisfaction with the work. Don’t get me wrong, the Goldbergs are incredible. But, from piano to harpsichord to organ, […]

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Holistic Improvisation

I work in the niche realm of historical performance, but videos from the 2020 Bovicelli Competition are the nichest thing I have seen in a long time. This year’s competition, officially titled the “International Singers’ Competition on the Diminution Practices of the 16th and 17th Centuries,” was hosted by the Schloss Weißenbrunn Foundation in Germany […]

Posted inInterview

Process of Emancipation

An Interview with Alina Rotaru By · Photography © Leif Marcus · Date 7/5/2018 Talking to harpsichordists regularly, it’s easy to get the impression that issues of historical performance, musical philosophy, and even fashion weigh heavily on their minds. But how much do they really think about these big ideas while practicing and performing? I […]

Posted inInterview

An Element of Faith

An Interview with Pierre Hantaï By · Title Image Screenshot from a video of Pierre Hantaï performing Scarlatti on a Bizzi harpsichord · Date 6/14/2018 The harpsichord is inextricably tied to the eccentricity and experimentation of the historical performance movement. Any hot new recording of baroque repertoire would be incomplete without a first-rate instrument. But […]

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Out of the Piano’s Shadow

An Interview with Keith and Robert Hill By · Photography Detail views of harpsichords by Keith Hill · Date 5/31/2018 “I like leather,” the famous harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková once said. Amid the harpsichord’s renaissance in the 20th century, a debate arose as to the materials that should be used for the plucking mechanism (plectra): leather […]

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Juste

An Interview with Jean Rondeau By · Photography © Katie Baillot · Date 11/30/2017 While this might not be the moment that all of us have been waiting for, it’s certainly titillating to catalogue another casualty report in the Harpsichord Wars. In March, Mahan Esfahani hurled a set of observations (some say accusations) against the […]

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Music Of An Earlier Time

Andrew Lawrence King Inhabits Monteverdi By · Title Image Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos by John Vanderlyn· Date 11/23/2017 Wait, is it the Monteverdi year? Help. I can’t get on social media without seeing Instagram theorbos, videos of madrigals by fellow early music noobs, or another of review of “Orfeo” pretending it’s a […]

Posted inInterview

Silent Valley

An Interview with Alice Goodman By · Images The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch (Public Domain) · Date 09/21/2017 Last month, the librettist and Anglican priest Alice Goodman told the New York Times of her text to the opera “The Death of Klinghoffer,” “Anything I might say about the controversy”—she was accused of […]

Posted inInterview

Cross Pollination

An Interview with Kristian Bezuidenhout By · Photography © Marco Borggreve · Date 08/24/2017 Recently, I spoke with the keyboardist Kristian Bezuidenhout by phone. His demeanor was gentle without being apologetic: while ironing his shirts, he talked about the music of Bach with immense sincerity. But his programming often includes music by other composers, particularly […]

Posted inInterview

Walking on Wire

An Interview with Richard Egarr By · Photography © Marco Borggreve · Date 08/17/2017 Skyping me from his house in Amsterdam, keyboardist and conductor Richard Egarr took time out of his vacation to answer some questions for VAN. Richard’s characteristic honesty and sense of humor really came out in the interview, as well as his […]