Clavichord Maker in London 1987–2020
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.
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 Boalchs 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 Handels 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 fathers 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)
- Book: Clavichord Tuning and Maintenance
- An Annotated Transcription of the Chickering Early-instrument Log-book
- Essays on Clavichord Subjects
- Essays on other subjects
- Instrument Research documents
- Catalogue of clavichords made in Latin America
- Links to some clavichord videos on-line
- Contents of some clavichord periodicals
- Some clavichord players
- Clavichords made by Peter Bavington
- Owners manuals
- Links to some other relevant websites
ESSAYS ON CLAVICHORD SUBJECTS
- The Clavichords of C. P. E. Bach and Haydn, talk delivered at the British Clavichord Society meeting in London, 21 November 1998. It was subsequently published in Tangents, the Bulletin of the Boston Clavichord Society, No. 28 (Spring 2010)
- The Temperament of the Donat Clavichord, web-site essay, July 2002.
- Aspects of Clavichord Design and Set-up, a talk delivered to the British Clavichord Society meeting in Edinburgh in 2002. It subsequently appeared (May 2003) in Clavichord International, Vol. 7 No. 1.
- Understanding the clavichord, a talk delivered to the British Clavichord Society meeting in Kendal, Cumbria, in 2003.
- Twined strings for Clavichords: a practical account, drawing on my own experience.
- Clavichord Making in the 1890s and Today, article that appeared in the William Morris Society Newsletter, Summer 2007.
- Arnold Dolmetschs Clavichord-Making in the Years before 1914: full text of an article which first appeared in De Clavicordio VIII (proceedings of the 2007 Magnano Clavichord Symposium) (pdf).
- Two Books on Temperament: a review (which first appeared in BCS Newsletter 41 in 2008) of books by Ross Duffin and Alexander Mackenzie of Ord.
- Reconstructing Mersennes Clavichord: full text of an article which first appeared in De Clavicordio X (proceedings of the 2011 Magnano Clavichord Symposium) (pdf).
- The Triple-fretted Clavichord in the Benton Fletcher Collection: observations and recommendations: this 2015 report is reproduced here by kind permission of the National Trust. It covers the origin, stringing and temperament of the instrument (pdf).
- A Mystery Clavichord: an article which first appeared in BCS Newsletter 72 in October 2018 (pdf).
- The History of the Meerbach Clavichord in the Geelvinck Music Museum, Zutphen: from Clavichord International, November 2020 (pdf).
- Arnold Dolmetschs First Workshop Assistant: an article which first appeared in the Dolmetsch Foundation Bulletin in Autumn 2020.
- Training the Next Generation of Harpsichord, Clavichord and Fortepiano Makers and Technicians: a talk delivered at a meeting of the Musical Instruments Resource Network, 17 September 2021 (pdf).
- A Chronological List of published articles, etc., by Peter Bavington (pdf).
The following informal essays on clavichord subjects appeared originally in the blog Workshop News:
- Restoration (August 2001)
- Starting a new instrument (December 2001)
- Swedish clavichords (May 2002)
- Taking on a trainee (September 2002)
- Setting up a clavichord (March 2004)
- Thoughts on copying (May 2005)
- Making and using over-wound strings (September 2005)
- Sustain, and how to achieve it (July 2006)
- Decoration on clavichords (August 2007)
- Variability in design of old clavichords (December 2007)
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.
- An annotated transcription of the Chickering early-instrument log-book, recording all the instruments made between 1906 and 1911 at Chickering & Sons factory, Boston USA, under the supervision of Arnold Dolmetsch. (PDF)
- A key to some of the personalities named in the annotated transcription. (PDF)
- A list of surviving clavichords with short-and-broken bass octave. Updated April 2008.
- A checklist of keyboard instruments in the St Petersburg Museum. Updated March 2008.
- A checklist of clavichords made by members of the Schiedmayer family. Updated January 2023.
- Surviving clavichords attributed to Johann Heinrich Silbermann. Updated August 2015.
- Link to The Arnold Dolmetsch Clavichord of 1896–7 in the Edinburgh University Collection: a restoration report by John Barnes. (PDF).
- Catalogue of Surviving Multiple-fretted Clavichords.
ESSAYS ON OTHER SUBJECTS
- A Doomed Estate: Robin Hood Gardens (pdf).
- A London Journey: my journey to work. With reflections on the history, architecture and sociology of London.
- Fancy Bread: a Boyhood Memoir (pdf).
This link will take you to a performance by Julian Perkins of Handels lovely Air in G minor, HWV 467, played in the composers London bedroom on a small clavichord made by Peter Bavington in 2016.
Here you can hear Timothy Roberts playing Domenico Scarlattis 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. Frobergers Lament for Ferdinando IV, FbWV 612, played on a fretted clavichord after Bodechtel made by Peter Bavington in 2008.
SOME CLAVICHORD PLAYERS:
- Derek Adlam
- Benjamin Alard
- The late Susan Alexander-Max
- The late Joan Benson
- Bernard Brauchli
- Carole Cerasi
- Terence Charlston
- Gregory Crowell
- Menno van Delft
- Steven Devine
- Mahan Esfahani
- David Gerrard
- Pierre Goy
- Marcia Hadjimarkos
- The late John Henry
- Siebe Henstra
- The late Christopher Hogwood
- Nicole Hostettler
- Francis Knights
- Adrian Lenthall
- Anna Maria McElwain
Linda Nicholson Julian Perkins Marie van Rhijn Timothy Roberts Paul Simmonds Miklós Spányi Peter Sykes Colin Tilney Michael Tsalka Jaroslav Tůma Wim Winters Robert Woolley Ilton Wjuniski
SOME OTHER INTERESTING WEB-SITES:
- An on-line catalogue of harpsichord and clavichord makers 1440–1925 and their instruments.
- British Clavichord Society
- Keyword Press (publishers of Clavichord Tuning and Maintenance)
- The Galpin Society
- Boston Clavichord Society
- German Clavichord Society
- Netherlands Clavichord Society
- Catalogue of clavichords made in Latin America
- The Finchcocks Charity for Musical Education
- The Cobbe Collection of composer-related instruments.
- Pipedown - The Campaign for freedom from piped music.
- Au Berceau Royal - on the track of harpsichords and clavichords sold by Marcel Salomon.
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