The Harpsichord Show

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The English conductor Thomas Beecham once complained that the harpsichord sounds like "two skeletons copulating on a tin roof during a hail storm." This week the Brothers Balliett ask the question: who wouldn't want to hear that?? Let's explore some brand new music written for this prince of instruments, so often relegated to the baroque: the harpsichord.

Many composers are inspired by the baroque corpus of work when they compose for the harpsichord, and we'll hear examples of this kind of writing from Mayrose and Harris. Others just write as beautifully as they can, such as Lastovicka. As a kind of constant for comparison, we'll hear music from 17th century composer Froberger, as well as a song from the pop world by Joanna Newsom. And as a main course, we'll hear the searing Concerto for harpsichord and strings by Czech composer Viktor Kalabis. Think a harpsichord can't set the world on fire? Think again!