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HPSCHD-L  April 2001

HPSCHD-L April 2001

Subject:

Germanic Revivals other than in charming Santa Fe

From:

David Calhoun <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sun, 8 Apr 2001 11:45:38 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

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'Allo - Just back from a quick trip across the mountains to the
"other other Washington," to work wizzardry with a DeBlaise
"Cembalo Traverso" lately acquired at auction by a lady who had
admired the piano teacher at WSU to whom it had belonged.

DeBlaise, we learn from the Zuckerbook, was born in Latvia, lived
in Israel, and made Germanic production harpsichords in an English
piano factory. The thing is well made; a somewhat fattish straight-
sided bentside spinet except that instead of paired strings it has
two registers at 8' and 4'. The middle pedal doesn't latch and
puts on the buff; the right one turns on the 4', while the left
turns the unison _off._ All this was working fine after some
capstain twisting; my job was to make it work, which mainly
meant the time-consuming bit of replacing worn leathers with
new delrin on the unison and recutting the octave leathers.

The hornbeame jacks, nicely made, have one feature which I've
not seen before: the pivot holes in the tongue were bushed with
cloth! This must have been an incredible manufacturing compli-
cation, and of course produced enough friction that the tongue
springs had to be very stiff, in turn making return even of
well-cut plastic a problem, and that of a rough leather most
improbable. The cloth couldn't be drilled out, for that made
the hole far too big, which meant it had to be filled ...

I finally hit upon the solution of drilling out the _jack
bodies,_ which means that the pin is captive in the tongue and
moves freely in the jack. As long as the pins don't decide to
migrate sideways and stick in the guides, we're home. The
wire springs, which work on the tongue toe below the axle at
the front, can be cleverly set so that they first push the
tongue gently near the axle but then snub the tongue tip
to stop the back flip rather like a backcheck. They're woven
into the wood of the jack in a complicated way which is
interesting to try to reproduce!

Although I stalled on this trip for months, the Moran Prarie
south of Spokane had sun, snow, and hail the first day I wa
 there. Mr.Spokane was visible off to the northeast. There
are lots of geologic transitions around this part of the
world, and what may have been several continental fragments
piled against one another as the Pacific Plate cruised in and
under the continent (which still goes on, as recent events
confirm.) I was north to Kettle Falls (consult your mappes)
then south along the east side of Roosevelt Lake, the reservoir
of Grand Coolie Dam. The water's way down, and it was interesting
and unusual to be able to see the deltas of several rivers
including the Spokane revealing the way they form under the
usual cover of lake water. It's going to be a dry year here
this summer.

Spokane also boasts a big Sperrrrhakkkkke to which I did a
similar operation some years back, which I managed to avoid on
this trip, and a beautiful new organ by Martin Pasi which I
heard in the shop but could only view on this trip. Seattle
managed to get rid of most of its big Neuperts; the last of
those at the University of a Thousand Years went to Brigham
Young in Utah some years back, where Jim Richman had the
honour to perform the opening programme.

Lucky him.

The Vancouver Symphony bought what was believed to be the
penultimate Neupert Bach model some years back; Igor Kipnis
played the opening concert and has told the tale. It sits
lonely like the city of Jerusalem, but unlamented by Jeremiah
or anybody else, in the attic of the Orpheum.

                                                Calhoun


From fanaticism to barbarism is one small step.
                                        Denis Diderot (1746)

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