2013-2014 Season

MAY 4, 2014, 5PM
ALLAN RASMUSSEN, harpsichord
Bach's Goldberg Variations

Join us for the West Coast Debut of Denmark's leading harpsichordist, Allan Rasmussen for a vibrant reading of the Bach's "Goldberg Variations."

Allan Rasmussen is the organist and music director of Frederiksberg Kirke in Copenhagen. He also is the director of the Midsommerbarok International Festival in Frederiksberg. He often performs with many of Europe's leading early music orchestras, including Concerto Copenhagen, Les Ambassadeurs, and the exciting orchestra l'Arte dei Suonatori. We are very excited to introduce Allan to Bay Area audiences.

For this concert, we will be using a very special harpsichord built in 2010 by John Phillips Berkeley, based on one built in 1722 by Johann Heinrich Gräbner, Dresden.



About the harpsichord, John Phillips writes:


J. S. Bach spent most of his life playing the so-called ‘middle German’ harpsichords made locally in Thuringiaand Saxony. Of the three of these known to survive from Bach’s lifetime, two 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 new instrument is based on the earliest of four surviving Gräbner harpsichords – it was completed by Johann Heinrich Gräbner in 1722 and was preserved in the Villa Bertramka in Prague. Athough now much modified and with a tenuous connection with Mozart and Don Giovanni, the 1722 Gräbner is a very good example of the large middle German harpsichord with which Bach would have been intimately familiar. It is even likely that Bach knew 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."

The middle German makers never seemed much interested in the fancy decoration or elaborate musical dispositions of their colleagues in Hamburg or Berlin. In keeping with the Protestant simplicity of the original, this harpsichord is constructed mainly of pine and spruce with decoration limited to a cut paper rose in the soundboard, Italianate moldings and scrolls and fancy brass work. The framed stand is typical of contemporary middle German furniture. Musically there is a ‘French’ disposition with two unisons and an octave distributed on two manuals with a coupler. The range is typical of the largest German instruments of the 1720s; FF-d3.. The sound of the Gräbner harpsichords with colors always suggestive of organ stops is unique. The clean articulation and remarkable clarity in all registers are perfectly suited for the solo and accompanied keyboard works of J. S. Bach.


St. Mary Magdalen Church
2005 Berryman Street, Berkeley CA

Please enquire about our reduced student prices. We believe this performance will be of great interest to all keyboard players, teachers, and lovers of Bach.

International Keyboard Series

11/17/2013
Gilbert Martinez, (Denmark) virginal, muselaar, harpsichord and clavichord:
17th century Music from Northern Europe, performed on 4 historic keyboards new to MusicSources collection.
more information

2/7/2014
PICCOLA MORTE
Piccola Morte (literally "little death") is a new ensemble and MusicSources Affiliate, made up of prominent young singers who will explore Italian madrigal repertoire. Join them in their debut as they offer us sensual, bold, and uncensored interpretations of music of Claudio Monteverdi.
more information

2/16/2014
Ilya Poletaev, (Canada) clavichord, harpsichord, fortepiano, chamber organ:
Bach's Well Tempered Clavier Bk II (Complete)
more information

2/28/2014
Mitzi Meyerson (Germany) harpsichord:
Music from 18th Century France
more information

3/7/2014
Revelry and Reverence: Music of the Spanish Baroque
JungHae Kim, harpsichord
Kevin Cooper, baroque guitar
Kent Reed, percussion
more information

3/30/2014
Janine Johnson, harpsichord
Music of D'Anglebert, Siret, and Rameau
Bay Area harpsichordist Janine Johnson offers us a feast of French harpsichord music. The program includes Rameau's Suite in A minor, one of the great masterpieces of all harpsichord repertoire.
more information

4/11/2014
AN 18th CENTURY FRENCH MUSICAL PORTRAIT
more information

5/4/2014
Allan Rasmussen (Denmark) harpsichord:
Resident harpsichordist of Concerto Copenhagen (Denmark's leading baroque orchestra) makes his Northern California debut. Repertoire to be announced.
more information

AND MANY MORE CONCERTS ... stay tuned!


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Next Event
MAY 4, 2014, 5PM
ALLAN RASMUSSEN, harpsichord
Bach's Goldberg Variations

More information


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