Precious replica in spotlight
The Diocesan School harpsichord will be in the spotlight tomorrow night for what could be the performance of its lifetime.
The 14-piece Italian music ensemble Europa Galante is borrowing the 18th century replica for its first and only New Zealand concert.
The group requested a continental style, double-keyboard harpsichord and will tune the instrument to “Baroque pitch” so it hits the notes perfectly for pieces such as Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.
Performing arts director David Gordon says the school is proud to have its harpsichord share the stage with the internationally acclaimed ensemble.
“As an instrument, it represents the pinnacle of harpsichord making,” he says.
“It is great to have it used by musicians of this status and for New Zealanders to be able to hear it being played by them.”
The school has owned the harpsichord since 1984, when it was built in the United States. It is one of about 100 in New Zealand.
Year 12 student Chehanya O’Flaherty, 16, started playing the harpsichord last year and describes it as “something a bit different to playing the piano”. A harpsichord is a cross between a piano and a harp. The musician presses the keys which pluck the strings to create the sound. It was probably invented in the late middle ages and was nearly replaced altogether by the piano in the 18th century.
Grand appearance: Diocesan School for Girls’ 18th century harpsichord replica will be used by Italian ensemble Europe Galante in a concert tomorrow night. Chehanya O’ Flaherty, 16, is one of the few Dio students to learn the instrument.