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Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 

SOLD! to the gentleman from Toronto, ON
French Double Manual Harpsichord
from Zuckermann Kit (used)

This unsigned two-manual Franco-Flemish harpsichord was built from a Zuckermann Harpsichords International kit in 1997. The FF to g''' compass (63 notes) will accommodate all of the late baroque literature including Forqueray (actually transcriptions of gamba music) which requires the low FF. Note: when transposed to A=440 the high g''' is lost. Disposition: 2 x 8', 4' and buff, transposing A = 415/440 (loses top g''' at 440). Zuckermann plastic jacks quilled in Celcon.

 

The most striking thing about this instrument, even more than its striking appearance, is the gorgeous sound. It is a true "French" sound -- a lovely rolling bass and a clear, flutey treble. The silvery "French" treble sound continues down into the midrange. Balbastre just thunders on it, and those little Rameau bonbons like La Poule and Fanfarinette are so sweet you want to eat them with a silver spoon.

 

It is presently lightly voiced for a large room in a home and has a fairly light touch. If you wanted to use it for performance you would probably want to have it revoiced for a heavier pluck and firmer touch. In that 'professional mode' it would easily produce enough sound to fill a medium to large concert venue.


 

Very French-looking! very Versailles paint scheme of pale green outside and with a lighter creamy green interior, gold bands and gilded mouldings; reverse keyboard in grenadilla or dyed pear naturals with pearwood arcades and bone-slipped sharps.

 


The paint work is very fine. The original builder wasn't happy with his own work so he had it painted by a professional fine furniture restorer. It has the beautiful satin gloss with the hint of brush-stroke that is the hallmark of a fine paint finish.

 

Excellent design, quality materials, great sound with a truly wonderful bass. The original design was by William Hyman based loosely on a Blanchet Franco-Flemish, then adapted by David Way for kit production over 14 versions. We think this is a French Double XIV, the last version of this design produced under David Way's direction. The builder, who had considerable experience with harpsichords, bought this kit in Stage 2, "case assembled", so the cabinet work was done in the Zuckermann shop and is all first-class.

The turned oak stand is separate and can be disassembled -- the stretchers unbolt from the front and back frames -- for transport. The bolts are concealed by solid brass bed-bolt covers, a proper 18th C French solution.

 

This is a professional-quality harpsichord. Would suite a professional player, an advanced or serious intermediate student, or a dedicated amateur who appreciates playing a fine instrument. Would also be ideal for a conservatory or the music department of a university or college. With the addition of a maintenance plan, which is included in consumer or institutional lease financing, it would be an affordable and trouble-free instrument for an individual, school, opera company, etc. Maintenance plans are also available separately.

Change in family circumstance forces sale. This instrument is in Toronto and may be viewed/played by appointment. Contact us to set up a day and time. For those of you not in the Toronto area, we hope to have sound samples on line soon.

 


So, what's not to like? Well, there are some cosmetic problems. It looks fabulous from a distance and would be great on stage or in a studio. But there are a few odd things that could be jarring in a house instrument. Which is why this instrument is listed at $17,000 CAD / $12,400 USD instead of the $20,000 CAD / $15,000 USD you might expect.
   
Gold leaf could be tidied up a bit.
  • The lovely paint work has a few chips and dings revealing the white undercoat beneath, mostly on the spine side. They could be touched up, if they bother you, or the whole instrument repainted if you do not like the colour (the current owner does not, she had always intended to repaint it).
  • The very nice solid brass hinges supplied with the kit were not used. For some reason inexpensive steel hinges were substituted and then faux-gold plated, not entirely successfully. If this bothers you they can be replaced. Original-issue hinges for this instrument are available, a complete set would cost around $200 USD. For best results this would be combined with a repainting, chances are the holes will not coincide.
  • The gold leafing on the mouldings is a little messy.
  • The inside of the harpsichord above the soundboard appears to have been primed but never painted. This is not noticeable from a distance and not even serious up close, but you should know. Perhaps gold leaf was intended here? Fabric? Papers?
  • The nut pins for the front 8' have been bent, 'trapping' the strings, presumably to adjust for a slight error in their location. This is not very noticeable in its current voicing, and it still sounds quite spectacular and very French, but if concert volume were required the pins should be removed, the holes filled and the pins replaced in their proper position.

SOLD! to the gentleman from Toronto, ON Price: asking $17,000 CAD / $12,400 USD / £6,995 GBP / € 10,400/ $141,500 MXN / ¥ 1,366,745 JPY plus shipping from Toronto and any applicable taxes. We can arrange delivery or, of course, you can pick it up. Qualifies under NAFTA so no duty to the US, Canada or Mexico, and it also qualifies for our lease plan. Interested? E-mail Claviers Baroques or give us a call toll-free in North America at 1-888-597-0946. [back to used instruments page]
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