Hi harpsichord peeps! (Hi Tilman!),
It was neat to get to meet and talk with you, Tilman, at the
get-together after Cembalophilia.
"Peeps", for those of you you inquiring, is one way of saying
"people", like the old feminist "pers" etc.
and is a good alternative for "you guys" (when only some of you are guys).
Gosh, I'll have to see if I can join Westfield, it's not cheap!
but I'd love to read about claviorganums --
Diferencias sobre la gallarda milanesa, A. de Cabezón (claviorgue de Hauslaib) )
(played this piece in my Fringe gig)
I attended the 7-harpsichordist performance in honor of Alan Curtis,
Ed Parmentier's awesome concert,
and played in Ed's master class.
(I also attended Eugene Petrushansky's fringe gig, where Owen Daly and
Eugene also played 4 pieces for 2 keyboards, neat early Italian stuff,
and played a solo fringe gig of my own)
Re the instruments -- I agree that it would have been wonderful to
hear more of that muselar! As far as I heard, Gilbert Martinez was
the only person who played her (but note that I only went to some of
the gigs). His Daphne piece, anonymous Dutch, was really neat -- he
played from a fairly small tablet, by the way (which we were
wondering, how in the world can he see a SMALL tablet!). The keyboard
reduction of opera was hilarious, and Gilbert really played it to the
Personally, I found the Blanchet to be way too light of a touch -- I
like light touch, even more so these days because my hands are
multiply disabled -- so, for example, I like the touch of Jerry
Prager's Grimaldi, of Owen Daly's Italian enharmonico -- but the
Blanchet to me almost seemed like one could blow on the key and it
would sound, and to me there didn't seem to be much feedback about the
pluck. For me, playing on her for the master class, playing 8 + 8,
that meant that I slithered around! Now of course most
harpsichordists' hands aren't messed up -- but in the 7-harpsichordist
session, I got the impression that several of those very fine
harpsichordists, DID do some slithering around on the Blanchet -- (and
also to be fair, my preference in instruments runs to earlier Flemish
and Italians). (And of course it was still very fine of David Cates
to let his new instrument participate in BFX!).
Ed Parmentier's concert --
I'd last heard him perform the last time he'd played at BFX, he was
awesome, but this time, he has entered an entirely different universe.
(And I did tell him exactly that, and he fixed me with his raptor gaze
and gravely thanked me; I think he knew what I meant).
Frescobaldi Capriccio in which the 5th part is sung -- that, and the
Bull piece he played, made me cry. I had heard him play and sing that
5th part sung piece, around 1980 in Los Angeles. At that time, some
of the audience was shocked, they were going
You Can't DO That!
and the rest of us were practically screaming with delight, holy cow,
we didn't realize you could DO that!
And this time, it was even better.
When he went up to countertenor range, that's when I cried.
The period of harpsichord music that I most love, is Sweelinck,
virginalists, early Italian dances, etc. -- and to me, a lot of that
music is very introspective, very detailed and
intimate-in-consciousness, one is looking at this tiny shell one found
on the beach, then one is looking at that.....and a gifted player can
draw you in, so you suddenly realize, oh, where was I? I'm in this
(For this exact reason, we named our rock/blues/psychedelic band
"Somewhere Else", for that somewhere else one can go at times, that we
For example, my image/metaphor of much of Sweelinck is, one is
clambering up a steep hill, have to occasionally lean down and use
one's hands for balance, now you're grasping this rock, now that
rock......one little bit to the next......
It's not some big bombastic sweeping unison thing, but many little
beads, many little tiny moments, one after the other.
A lot of this period of music is like that. Not to say there isn't
tons of grandeur! and world ending! and crashes! and astonishments!
but there is a close-focus, an intimacy of consciousness, to the
ANYhow -- Ed drew us into this universe he has gone to.
He has always been daring in playing. Cosmic intensity, is one thing
I call this.
It was just incredible, a harpsichordist's harpsichordist. Ed
Parmentier truly is a force of nature.
His master class --
As the most junior participant, I went first (and was glad, since I
was so nervous!).
It was actually a strange kind of fun, I was able to do some of what
Ed was trying to elicit, not able to do some else (and I'm sure I
didn't even grok some things he was trying to get me to do). Then,
watching him with the other 3 participants, was very interesting -- it
seems as if he is playing us, like an instrument, seeing what he can
draw out of us. Several of the others, it was really impressive how
much more powerful their playing became, in just a moment --
On logistics/venue/etc. --
The street noise at Berkeley City Club, didn't bother me as much as
the lack of lighting --
and several other people commented on this as well. It would have
been great to have floor lamps or something, near the instruments.
On logistics-of-promotion/advertising --
For quite a while, SFEMS did NOT have the Westfield/Cembalophilia
stuff, on their main calendar event page -- !!
the way I found out Ed Parmentier would be playing, was an email from
a woman who'd gone to one of Ed's summer workshops the same time I
did, who found out about it through WEKA. And I had poked all over
the www.berkeleyfestival.org site --
initially, on the BFX website, to see anything about Cembalophilia,
you had to know to go to the tab "Events", and then select "Westfield"
I heard from at least a dozen people, after the fact, oh gosh, you're
telling me that Ed Parmentier played??!!!!! when!!!!! because they'd
looked at the BFX website, earlier on when it was NOT obvious. It was
pretty late in the game, when they finally put Cembalophilia
information, on their main schedule.
To me, this was really not-so-cool.
On another note, my fringe gig went wonderfully, more cosmic than I
had dreamed. Galaxies of thanks to Owen Daly for tuning the Grimaldi
for me! and Eugene Petrushansky for arranging that we could move the
Grimaldi in the night before, when he moved in 2 instruments. And
thanks to Owen also for being my sounding board, listening to my angst
and fear, being willing to talk about such scary things, offering
suggestions and stories, and just being incredibly supportive.
Gilbert Martinez couldn't make my gig, he had to deliver an instrument
to Los Angeles, but next time I see him I will give him a great big
hug, for lending me the Grimaldi. Kathy McIntosh has been quite
supportive, thanks! And Claudio, you sweetie, you listened to my
"Diferencias sobre la gallarda milanesa" and gave feedback and support
which I greatly appreciate!
Taboo, my cat who loves Sweelinck, is sitting by me as I type this.
(A small picture of him was in my program, he and I together singing
the descending hexachord that starts Sweelinck's Fantasia Chromatica).
still worn out from BFX!
and this week, I'm teaching at first session of Bay Area Girls Rock
Camp (rock keyboard)
> Date: Sat, 11 Jun 2016 23:31:13 -0500
> From: Tilman Skowroneck <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: "Cembalophilia" impressions anyone?
> Just returned (to Bremen, on my way home) from Berkeley's recent harpsichord event "Cembalophilia", I wonder whether some of the, hum, "harpsichord peeps" who were present might like to share their impressions, in order to enliven this list and enlighten those who might have an interest but weren't there.
> Thing is, my own report isn't ready yet -- and it will appear in the Westfield Newsletter, which makes me hesitant to go pre-fire snippets here, for once. Aaand it would be great to hear how the thing was experienced by people who weren't jetlagged like myself! (I enjoyed myself greatly, it isn't that...)
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