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PETER  BAVINGTON
Clavichord Maker in London 1987–2020

WORKSHOP CLOSURE

This workshop closed in July 2020. I can no longer make instruments or sell supplies, but this web-site remains live; all existing reference material and links will be maintained and extra items will be added from time to time.

If anyone needs help or advice about an instrument made by me, please contact me by e-mail.

NEWS

‘Boalch-Mould Online’ has now been live for a whole year. It is the online successor to the third edition, edited by Charles Mould, of Donald Boalch’s Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord, which appeared in print as long ago as 1995. It includes biographies of known makers and an extensive catalogue of surviving instruments, many with photos. The period covered, originally 1440–1840, has been extended to include instruments made up to 1925. Over the past months, I have been busy updating and revising entries and adding new ones, both for clavichords and harpsichords etc. I encourage everyone to look up instruments they own, or know about, and check that the information displayed is correct. It is easy to submit corrections and new entries: there are explanatory videos on the website which explain how to use the database. All submissions are reviewed by a member of the editorial team before the go ‘live’.

. Julian Perkins’ new solo clavichord recording Handel’s Attick has just been released by Deux-Elles. The title is inspired by the well-known story (told by Handelís early biographer John Mainwaring) that the young Handel, in defiance of his father’s wishes, secretly installed a small clavichord in the attic of his parents’ house on which he could practise at night. The pieces in the first half are by composers whose works were included in a notebook of 1698, which Handel used while he was studying in Halle with Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow. The second half includes pieces that Handel might have played on his clavichord in later life, for relaxation and maybe even solace, away from the demands and intrigues of his busy public life. Julian uses two clavichords made by me: a little portable fretted instrument from 2016 and a larger, unfretted one made the year before.

Also recently released: a new Hyperion CD from Mahan Esfahani and Carolyn Sampson, containing a wide selection of pieces from the two Notebooks for Anna Magdalena, given by Johann Sebastian Bach to his young wife in 1722 and 1725. These little books provide a picture of music-making within the Bach household from the perspective of his wife, Anna Magdalena Bach (1701–60), a refined and serious musician in her own right. The composers represented include J. S. Bach himself, his sons Carl Philipp and (probably) Johann Christian, and several others including Johann Adolf Hasse and François Couperin. Mahan plays a harpsichord by Miles Hellon after Michael Mietke (1704) and a clavichord by me based on one by Johann Heinrich Silbermann; the lovely voice of Carolyn Sampson is heard on 14 of the 40 tracks.


CONTENTS

(scroll down to see the complete list)

ESSAYS ON CLAVICHORD SUBJECTS

The following informal essays on clavichord subjects appeared originally in the blog ‘Workshop News’:

RESEARCH DOCUMENTS

This section contains lists and other documents which will be of interest mainly to those doing research into keyboard instruments, particularly the clavichord.

Please feel free to print out or download any of these documents. I would be particularly grateful for additions, corrections or comments.

ESSAYS ON OTHER SUBJECTS

VIDEOS

This link will take you to a performance by Julian Perkins of Handel’s lovely Air in G minor, HWV 467, played in the composer’s London bedroom on a small clavichord made by Peter Bavington in 2016.

Here you can hear Timothy Roberts playing Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in D minor, K 9, on an ‘Iberian’ clavichord made by Peter Bavington in 2001.

This link is to a performance by Richard Smith of J. J. Froberger’s Lament for Ferdinando IV, FbWV 612, played on a fretted clavichord after Bodechtel made by Peter Bavington in 2008.

 

SOME CLAVICHORD PLAYERS:

SOME OTHER INTERESTING WEB-SITES:

 

BIOGRAPHY

PETER BAVINGTON was born in 1941 and educated at William Ellis School, London and Exeter University. After working for many years as a Civil Servant, he decided in 1982 on a complete change of career and enrolled at the London College of Furniture (now part of London Metropolitan University), where he studied early keyboard instruments under Lewis Jones. In 1985 he obtained his Higher National Diploma in Musical Instrument Technology with distinction in every unit.

He then spent two years working with John Rawson before founding his own London workshop, making and restoring harpsichords, clavichords and fortepianos. In addition to individual musicians, his customers included the Royal Academy of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Hochschule der Künste Berlin.

Peter retired from instrument making in 2020. He continues to undertake research into all aspects of clavichords and other musical instruments, and is the author of numerous articles (click here for list) and the book Clavichord Tuning and Maintenance, now in its third edition. He was a founder member and past Chairman of the British Clavichord Society (now disbanded). In 2020 he received the Anthony Baines Memorial Prize, which is awarded annually for an outstanding contribution to organology, the study of musical instruments.

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last update November 2023