Ensemble Hesperi are ecstatic to have taken delivery of a new harpsichord between Christmas and New Year. As a harpsichordist, there is a point at which it becomes less viable to continue renting an instrument, and seems a sensible investment to purchase a small first harpsichord. The choice for Thomas was not an easy one: there are many excellent harpsichord makers in England, many of whom offer a wide variety of copies of particular historical models, with adjustments of specification to taste. Tom's choice was a copy of an Anonymous 1667 French harpsichord, built over the last year and a half by the wonderful maker, Alan Gotto, whose workshop is based in Norwich.
The original model of this harpsichord is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It is a double manual instrument; Alan Gotto has adapted it to a single manual, which is more practical for transporting around London and further afield! For those interested in the nitty gritty, this model offers two 8" stops, a 4" stop, and the option of a 'lute' or 'buff' stop, which produces a beautiful harp-like sound by dampening the strings. The bottom few keys are also 'split', offering further low notes, which come in very handy!