A HILL FRANCO/FLEMISH DOUBLE FOR SALE, REBUILT IN 2009
The present owner of this harpsichord, my Opus 59 made in 1979, sent it back to me for the purpose of doing any acoustical upgrades on the instrument I deemed to be efficacious and then to sell it for him. I decided that the instrument needed a new soundboard, which I installed in June of 2009, and new jacks, to replace the old plastic jacks, and registers, all of which were replaced in Dec. of 2009. Because I designate my opus numbers to the soundboards more than to the bodies of my instruments, the new opus number for this instrument is 416. The results can be heard in the sound samples below. Those samples were made by me, with my usual scant practice, as you will no doubt hear, so you could listen to what the instrument sounds like.
Click here for a Sound Sample of Opus 59*
Click here to hear a Bach Fugue played on this Franc-Flemish harpsichord.*
Click here for a taste of Rameau on this Franc-Flemish Double*
The price of this instrument is 30,000 Euros, which includes the shipping crate, should one be necessary.
Blanchet Harpsichord Opus 434 for Sale
Click here for a Sound Sample of one of my Blanchet Harpsichords.*
Please note that the recording I have posted is not of this Blanchet but of one made previously. But the two instruments sound amazingly similar, so I used this recording as it typifies what the instrument sounds like.
This particular Blanchet harpsichord, my Opus 434, was made in 2010. The sound is both refined and very robust. The bloom is large and resonant. It has a clear, intense, and colorful timbre which is both more spoken and dry than singing. It supports you to do anything you can desire in terms of playing around with time and articulation. No matter how many notes you can hold down or for how long the sound never degenerates into a muddy effect. The touch is crisp, light, easy to play, flexible, articulate, repeats well, and is delightful to work with. This is the instrument I showed at the previous Boston Early Music Festival three years ago. It is located in my living room in Nashville.
Built after the Fischer Blanchet, this instrument has an FF - f''' compass, ebony naturals, bone topped sharps, transposing from A-415 to A-440, a buffstop, wooden jacks, leather covered registers, and sits on a single frame platform stand with 5 turned legs.
The Price of this instrument is: $57,300.00
---------- 6 1/2 OCTAVE VIENNESE FORTEPIANO FOR SALE----------
This fortepiano is historically significant in that it is the first known attempt since the early 19th century to build a large compassed 6 1/2 octave Viennese Fortepiano in the 20th century. This 6 and 1/2 octave CC-f''' fortepiano was made in the manner of instruments made in Vienna around 1810-1815 when the compass of the fortepiano was in the process of expanding but before the body started getting extremely heavy. This particular piano was made, by Thomas McCobb, in my shop in 1975 when the shop was still in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Prior to arriving at my shop, Thomas had done a brief apprenticeship with Philip Belt and had made a Belt type 5 octave fortepiano which Malcolm Bilson immediately bought and which he used for his concert tours for many years.
I offered to share my shop with Thomas because he worked only during the day and I worked only at night. It was during this three year period that Thomas built this fortepiano.
KEYBOARD VIEW - TREBLE END
You can see from these photos the care that was taken when making this instrument. I very much admired Thomas' workmanship and learned a lot about woodworking from him. I also bought a piano from Thomas during that brief period during which this instrument was made. At the time I could only afford a 5 octave piano so when this instrument became available shortly after it was made for George Lucktenberg, who ordered it to use on his numerous concert tours. Much to his chagrin George discovered that moving the instrument around for concert tours himself was beyond his powers to lift and still play the concert. So I agreed to exchange my 5 octave McCobb fortepiano with George's 6 1/2 octave piano. That is how this instrument came into my hands.
You can see from the above photo that the instrument is triple strung in the treble and double strung from the middle and the bass. The treble is now strung in Rose wire. The double strung iron strings are the original Ormiston wire. And the brass wire is Rose wire.
ACTION VIEW - FROM THE FRONT
You will notice from the spaces in the action views that the instrument is equipped with two gap spacers. This perhaps accounts for why the tuning is unusually stable. Over the years various improvements to the action were made. These changes improved the reliability and feel of the touch. The most recent change was a releathering of the hammers to conform to the most current European standards of voicing.
ACTION AS VIEWED FROM THE REAR
ACTION DETAIL OF A TREBLE KEY
This fortepiano is equipped with two pedals one to work the moderator and the other to work the dampers.
When he made the instrument Thomas decided to paint it black because he wanted to keep costs down for George. However, the manner of construction is still the vertical veneers typical of the Viennese makers.
The only drawback to the instrument from our point of view today is that the keyboard is covered in genuine ivory, so the keys have that silky feel imparted by that material. This precludes a sale of the fortepiano in Europe as the laws today are so strict that no ivory can be exported or imported. And I don't wish to be forced to remove ivory from a keyboard ever again. When I sold my de Zentis harpsichord some years ago to the Piccolo Academia in Montisi, Italy, I had to remove all the gorgeous lovely original 17th century thick ivory keytops to satisfy the customs requirements.
If you are interested in buying this fortepiano, the price is $29,500 which is slightly more than the original price I paid for the instrument when it was made...based on the current currency conversion rates available from the following website: http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/