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Toronto, Ontario, Canada

SOLD! to the gentleman from Alabama!
French Single after Denis from TPW Kit, built by Claviers Baroques 2001 (used)

This harpsichord is called Katerina, named after Red Catherine, that's Catherine the Great of Russia. She was built -- by us -- from The Paris Workshop's French Single after Denis kit. The compass is 56 + 1 notes: GG-d''', transposable A415/A440 without the loss of d''', and this one was built with the second 8' and the buff options. The case is solid wild American cherry (from Pennsylvania), the wrestplank is oak and the soundboard is fir. The keyboard is the standard -- and very nice -- grenadilla (black) naturals with cherry front mouldings and cherry sharps. Of *course* we planed the soundboard and incorporated a number of other professional touches you won't find on an amateur-built kit.

The combination of the proportions, case structure, soundbarring and the mixed iron and brass stringing gives this instrument a distinctively French sound, ideal for Louis Couperin. Also excellent with Kerl, Handel, any Bach and especially Johann Christian Bach, the "London Bach", Johann Sebastian's youngest son. The English composers of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods such as John Bull, Gilles Farnaby, William Felton and Orlando Gibbons are excellent on it as well. "Who" you say? My point exactly. There is a wealth of charming and unfamiliar music for this sort of instrument just waiting to be played.

[left] This is a *very* stable instrument. How stable? Well, when we stopped by in Nov 2002 to do the semi-annual maintenance call, the owner told us, "Hey, I'm always happy to see you guys, but it doesn't really need any maintenance."

"That's OK," we told him, "We'll just tune it."

"Gosh", he said, surprised, "It doesn't need tuning, I tuned it in July!"

We thought, that's nice... but not very likely. So when we whopped the meter on it and, as you can see, A was spot-on at 440. We were impressed! OK, we did tune a bit, but only about 6 notes needed it, and then not very much. Then we all went for breakfast at Betty and Nick's Bait and Breakfast in Seaside Park, NJ -- I highly recommend their corned beef hash and eggs.

This would make a wonderful instrument for a serious student, a dedicated amateur, or a music school or studio. It would also be ideal for a church or for a high school or small college that needs a first-rate small instrument. How small? It's 77 1/2" x 31 1/2" wide and weighs about 85 lbs -- that's 197cm long, Width 80cm wide and 40 kg.


[right] The owner wanted that rich dark red cherry colour right away, so Dawn stained the Pennsylvania wild cherry case a darker red. She custom-mixed the colour using powdered aniline dyes as most of the commercially available 'cherry' stains are too red or too muddy. When she got the colour right (ah!, a beautiful black-red cherry) she French-polished the case -- about a zillion coats of natural shellac, rubbed on by hand. French polish, by the way, is the finish on furniture that came over on the Mayflower, and it is one of the reasons that good antique furniture is so valuable -- French polish is restorable (just rub on more French polish) and never needs stripping. How many times have you heard this on the Antique Road Show? "That's a lovely chair/table/sideboard, Madam. It's worth around $1,000." Lady is pleased, expert continues, "...but if you hadn't stripped it, it would have been worth $10,000." The other reasons that antique pieces keep or increase their value are timeless design and historical (repairable ) hide glues -- hey, that's just like this harpsichord!

Not, of course, that this will happen any time soon, but someday your children and their children and their children will have this harpsichord to treasure -- there's not much else you can give them that will last that long.

 


Due to a change in family circumstances the current owner is selling it after 3 years. We should point out that besides being a delightful instrument, its design, reputation of the builder, and quality materials make this instrument a good investment. The owner will include original documents and other provenance. Like any comparable work of art it can be expected to keep its value and to appreciate if well-maintained. Speaking of which, this instrument has been professionally maintained by us since Day One. It is currently in *excellent* condition. If you like we can arrange a maintenance plan for you as well, either by us or by a colleague in your area.

Price: asking $11,900 CAD / $9,000 USD / £5,400 GBP / € 7 815 / $98,865 MXN / ¥ 984,450 JPY plus shipping from New Jersey USA and applicable taxes & duties. Built in Canada so it qualifies under NAFTA (no duty in USA-Canada-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. If you are in the New York/New Jersey area we can set up an appointment for you to meet the instrument in person, too.

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last updated May 4, 2004