Pre­cious replica in spot­light

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Me­lanie Ver­ran

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.

Photo: FIONA GOODALL

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.

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