Harpsichord Miscellanea

Sound Poetry from Equinox by
Baroness Eva von Freytag-Loringhoven
written ca. 1924-1925

Howl --

Ice bears
Growl --

Cannon steep --
Blacknoozzled --

On Her Playing Upon The Harpsichord
In A Room Hung With Flower Pieces Of Her Own Painting

Shakespeare wrote just two musical sonnets.  In one of these, Sonnet 128, he watches his “Dark Lady” play the keyboard (a virginal or Bassono-built clavichord). He wishes for a kiss & envies the jacks that the ​lady’s fingers “tickle”.

We poets pride ourselves on what
We feel, and not what we achieve;
The world may call our children fools,
Enough for us that we conceive.
A little wren that loves the grass
Can be as proud as any lark
That tumbles in a cloudless sky,
Up near the sun, till he becomes
The apple of that shining eye.

Hearken!  Tiny, clear, discrete:
The listener within deems solely his,
A music so remote and sweet
It all but lovely as silence is.

Sing softly. Muse, the Reverend Henry White
Who floats through time as lightly as a feather
Yet left one solitary gleam of light
Because he was the Selborne naturalist's brother

And told him once how on warm summer eves
When moonlight filled all Fyfield to the brim
And yearning owls were hooting to their loves
On church and barn and oak-trees leafy limb

My wife has a problem
with any poem
I give her to read
for a second opinion
especially when the poem
has no message
and my goal is
simply to hear
what I'm saying
and not care if
I understand it. 

As I have told her before,
the meaning of any poem
for me lies
in the marriage
of cadence and sound,
little more. 

There are many ways to move a harpsichord.  But only in Venice do harpsichords glide to their destination on water. 

Here, Alberto Busettini accompanies his 1748 Collesse to Teatro La Fenice for the launch of his "Froberger Project" series.  Alberto will be performing at Aberfoyle Baroque in October, 2016, on its William Dowd.  No gondola required!

This poem was written for Violet Gordon Woodhouse (1871-1948) by her dear friend, Sacheverell Sitwell, in the 1940s. 

Violet Gordon Woodhouse was a prodgiously talented English harpsichordist and clavichordist, and a very important contributor to both the Early Music and folk-song revival in Britain in the early 20th century.  She was the first person to ever make a recording on the harpsichord, for the BBC.  Many believed her musical talents to be greater than those of her contemporary, Wanda Landowska.

Johann Cristoph Friedrich von Schiller, author of this poem, was a German poet, philosopher and playwrite. 

Von Schiller was a close friend of Goethe's, and together they founded the Weimar Theater.  Beethoven drew directly on von Schiller's poem "An die Freude" (Ode to Joy) in composing the 4th movement of his 9th Symphony.  And, Brahms set von Schiller's poem Nanie to music.  Enjoy von Schiller's poem lauding the harpsichord (and Laura!).

To Laura at the Harpsichord