Outstanding 1966 mahogany Pleyel concert harpsichord. This particular model was made known by Wanda Landowska, a famous beginning of the 20th century harpsichord virtuoso who pioneered this concert size Pleyel model.
Pleyel harpsichord inv.1598 is not an exact copy of instruments from the renaissance or baroque periods. According to Pleyel, its construction was based on "old theoretical documents" and also on the "study of a large number of seventeenth and eighteenth-century instruments preserved intact in collections, particularly those of master builders like Ruckers, Couchet of Antwerp, Blanchet and Pascal Taskin". Though its construction was inspired by historic instruments, the sober rosewood veneer of the case is more reminiscent of a piano. Some described the instrument as a "plectrum piano" rather than as a harpsichord.
As far as the registers are concerned, we see the classic 3 sets of strings, with a disposition of 2 x 8' and 1 x 4'. There is also a nasal register inspired by the lute stop of English harpsichords from the second half of the eighteenth century where the strings of the upper 8 foot are plucked closer to the bridge, and also a second, muted lute register. The player activates these registers and also the register coupling by means of pedals on a lyre. This was very different from the usual instruments of the time, but it had the advantage of enabling the player to use all the register combinations with great ease. Both keyboards have a range of 5 octaves, from fah to fah, and the keys are as wide as those of pianos from the same period. The jacks are weighted. Screws underneath them regulate the length of the plectra, and the contact point of the plectrum can be adjusted with a second screw. The plectra are of hard leather rather than quill. All the dampers, apart from the one on the upper part of the 4 foot, are attached to levers, as was the case with table pianos of the same period.
This instrument was made to better withstand climatic changes and frequent transportation. So it was a true concert instrument which, in accordance with the then norms, boasted "robust mechanics, a powerful sound, a varied timbre and above all rapid changes of register." (EugÃ¨ne de Bricqueville in1913). Pleyel built 180 instruments of this type between 1889 and 1970. The harpsichord was greeted as the perfect instrument to revive Bach's polyphony. Musical celebrities like the French musician and musicologist Louis DiÃ©mer (1843-1919) and in particular the Polish pianist and harpsichordist Wanda Landowska (1879-1959) were devotees. Landowska was an exceptional artist and pioneered the rediscovery of early music. She played this model of harpsichord when she visited Auguste Rodin's studio in 1908 and also while travelling in Russia, where she gave a performance in front of (among others) Leonid Tolstoy. It is even quite possible that Landowska tried out this very instrument when she visited the mim in 1910.
Reconditioning work done includes cleaning & detailing exterior & interior and full inspection. Full case rub. This harpsichord looks and plays like new.
Comes with the original bench. Warranty and tuning offered for local purchases only. Please contact us for details.
If interested in this instrument please contact,
Stage 7 Pianos
511 6th Street South
Kirkland, WA 98033
Phone : 425.968.2410