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Recording David
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6th January 2007
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Question Harpsichord reference recordings?

I have a solo harpsichord date coming up in a few weeks and was looking to hear some outstanding reference CDs so I can 'zone in'. Can anyone recommend any?

Cheers.
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6th January 2007
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Not sure about availabilty, but do listen to Scarlatti sonatas played by the late Scott Ross (he's recorded all 555 of 'em...) on Erato and by Virginia Black (EMI).
There is also an onld Denon CD of Couperin pieces (Huguette Dreyfus) which was recorded in 1983, but sounds very nice, IMHO... Don't have a lot of recent recordings, I must say...

I guess you're looking for technical references, is that right? What kind of recording is this, live or studio, if I may ask? And who will be playing?


Daniel
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6th January 2007
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Hi Daniel - thanks for those suggestions, I'll see if I can get hold of one of those. Keep the suggestions coming if there are any more!

Yes, I'm primarily trying to hear a few from a technical point of view. This project is a studio recording, on location and the player's name is Robin Bigwoo d.
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Recording David
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Thanks for that Phil - I have that recording actually and it's great. I've just found a solo CD by Egarr called Bach: Per Cembalo Solo... which looks good (has the Italian Concerto etc. on it).

I saw Egarr do a recital about a month ago (with Andrew Manze) - he's an awesome and very witty player. I had a chat with him afterwards and he is a very nice, funny guy.

Keep em coming.
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6th January 2007
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For me the best harpsichord sound is on the CD Keith Jarret: Goldberg Variations
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What kind of location will you be recording in (and what mics do you have at your disposal)? Of course the sound depends mostly on the instrument... You'll have to see what it's like, it may just not sound like those on your reference recordings. Hope you'll be able and willing to share a few samples.

Richard Egarr is a nice chap... I've recorded a concert of his a few years ago. Would have to dig up the CD to remember how well it turned out.

Daniel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
For me the best harpsichord sound is on the CD Keith Jarret: Goldberg Variations
I will see if I can check that out - thanks Ivo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by d_fu View Post
What kind of location will you be recording in (and what mics do you have at your disposal)? Of course the sound depends mostly on the instrument... You'll have to see what it's like, it may just not sound like those on your reference recordings. Hope you'll be able and willing to share a few samples.
Daniel
The location is a small-medium sized church in Brighton - Robin chose it for the acoustic and he has recorded there before. Of course you're right about the instrument and the room having a massive effect on this kind of thing. The CD is music by Boismortier and Robin has sourced a fantastic French instrument for the project.

I have a range of Schoeps mics with all the usual patterns, some Josephson C42s and probably a pair of Royer R-121 (apparently fantastic for harpsichord). I'll probably go with an MS pair of Schoeps or a pair of spaced omnis, we'll see how they all sound. I'll probably use a BG2 pre (I have a Pacifica that I will try too) going into my Mytek converters.

I'm sure posting some samples won't be a problem. Thanks again for your input.
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Looking forward to samples... And do let me know when/where this will be released, this could be something I will want to buy...

But only if you go for that AB main pair, I don't like MS

I will be recording some harpsichord duets in the spring. Not sure about the location and the choice of instruments (historic or modern) yet, but this should be quite an interesting project.

Daniel
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Beeing a harpsichordplayer myself, i know how difficult it is to record this instrument.

For me, my prefered recording is an old one, but still the best ...

Bach concerto's with Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert.

http://www.jsbach.org/pinnockcomplet...concertos.html

look for disc 1
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Mcician - thanks for your input. I just checked out your site and was looking at the recording session photos you posted. I can't post a direct link but in "rec 001" the mics seem a very long way from the instrument (maybe it's just the angle of the photo) - was that a solo recording? Also it looks like the lid is off the harpsichord - is that desirable for recording (I actually thought about it but I've just never seen it done before)?
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Hi David,

the mics were around 1 meter away of the harpsichord.
I have an italian instrument without a lid. There is a protection case for the instrument with a lit. But i mostly of the time play without lid.
When i play in big churches, i could use the lid to give more projection.
But i prefer the sound without the case, so without the lid.
It depends a lot on the type of harpsichord, u have several types, french, flemish, italian, german. They all have other charastics.

If u want to share more info, pm and i could mail u.

grtz

David
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
For me the best harpsichord sound is on the CD Keith Jarret: Goldberg Variations
Agreed! Not to mention what a lush sounding harpichord it is. Fine performance as well.

Anyone have any background on this recording?

Regards,
-0.9
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There have been several nods to Richard Egarr so far, and I'll add to that list. I saw him play the Goldberg Variations last year, and immediately bought his (recently-released) recording of it afterwards. It's a great-sounding disc, with a beatiful-sounding instrument tuned in a lush temperament. It's on Harmonia Mundi (one of the best labels for sonics, IMHO) and is easily one of my favorite recent recordings. I also recommend Sophie Yates's Rameau recording on Chandos, although from a technical viewpoint I think it's a tad roomier than I would prefer. (Still a great recording, however.)
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Quote:
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I'm sure posting some samples won't be a problem.
How'd the project go...? Got any samples for us...?

Daniel
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Outstanding cembalo recordings for me are:
1. Any of Blandine Verlet on Astree.
2. Ketil Haugsand on Simax. Particularly that CD or the Goldberg Vars. Listen to the Marchand chaconne, track 8. Recorded with Nagra IVS and Schoeps CMS52's. Outstanding playing and recording.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
2. Ketil Haugsand on Simax. Outstanding playing and recording.
Don't take it personal, but I'll keep the Goldberg recordings in mind as something I want my upcoming harpsichord recording project to not sound like...
Distinctly too close up IMHO, and too much unnecessary stereo spread. The older recordings are a bit better that way.
May I post something from my own collection that comes a bit closer to my idea..?

Daniel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_fu View Post
How'd the project go...? Got any samples for us...?

Daniel
It still hasn't happened yet. I will keep you guys posted when we're up and running!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_fu View Post
Don't take it personal, but I'll keep the Goldberg recordings in mind as something I want my upcoming harpsichord recording project to not sound like...
Distinctly too close up IMHO, and too much unnecessary stereo spread. The older recordings are a bit better that way.
Daniel, i don't take these things personally as I know everyone's taste is different. But I dislike weak as piss cembalos and a lot of recordings are of weak instruments, these Simax recordings are using cembalos with balls.

Incidentally, did you listen on loudspeakers in a good room or on headphones in front of the PC?

Quote:
May I post something from my own collection that comes a bit closer to my idea..? Daniel
Yes I would be interested in what your preferred sound is like for this sort of instrument.
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Quote:
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But I dislike weak as piss cembalos and a lot of recordings are of weak instruments, these Simax recordings are using cembalos with balls.
You're right about the instrument, it sounds good. (Don't like "sewing machines", either...) But it could sound better

Quote:
Incidentally, did you listen on loudspeakers in a good room or on headphones in front of the PC?
Both, sort of... My speakers aren't ideally placed at the moment. But my PC is very quiet and does not disturb.

Quote:
Yes I would be interested in what your preferred sound is like for this sort of instrument.
Will do, later today. For some reason, I can't upload MP3s here any more, is anyone else seeing this? Even a 2 MB file gives me an error message.


Daniel
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Quote:
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Yes I would be interested in what your preferred sound is like for this sort of instrument.
Here it is... I'd say this comes pretty close to my own ideal. At least it's the kind of sound I'll be aiming at for the duet recordings...
I must admit I don't recall what I used as spot mics, main mic must have been AKG C460/CK62DF. No artificial reverb. And if you listen closely, you'll hear the birds outside... This is not the Richard Egarr performance I mentioned above, BTW.

Daniel
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Very nice indeed Daniel, great playing too.
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Thanks for that Daniel, great sample. Do you have any shots of your mic placement at all?
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Quote:
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Do you have any shots of your mic placement at all?
I'm afraid I don't... You can guess the position of the spots from the mic stand you see next to the instrument. Main mic was maybe 3-4 meters away and above... ~ 60 cm AB, angled at 90° or so.
This was just a short afternoon concert as part of a festival, quick setup, an hour's music, done... Not much time for pictures.

I often listen to old recordings and wonder what mics I used... Should really keep a record of everything.
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The Left Banke - 'Ive got something on my mind'

-great harpsicord riff.
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I agree that Haugsand's Marchand is wonderful. I don't have the CD nearby but all of the Simax recordings that I've seen him involved with were recorded by Arne Akselberg and they are all absolutely outstanding. Listen to the recordings Akselberg did with Haugsand and Larry Dreyfus of the Bach gamba sonatas and Marais. Done with the Schoeps already mentioned and 4006s, if I recall. I'll mention a Dabringhaus und Grimm recording of Mitzi Meyerson playing Forqueray on a Keith Hill Taskin copy. It's a wonderfully vivid yet spacious recording. Even better than a harpsichord with balls is one on which music with balls is being played. Check it out.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_fu View Post
You can guess the position of the spots from the mic stand you see next to the instrument. Main mic was maybe 3-4 meters away and above... ~ 60 cm AB, angled at 90° or so.
So, an omni AB pair and a pair of spots? 4 mics in all?
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4th March 2007
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Last October I did an on-location with what I thought was going to be two harpsichords but turned out to be four - Plus strings:

Here's a pic:



The fourth instrument is red and only slightly in view at the top of the shot.



-D
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Quote:
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So, an omni AB pair and a pair of spots? 4 mics in all?
Yup, that was all... The spots may have been AKG 480s, but that's more of a guess.

Daniel
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Not sure if it will be useful, but I found this article interesting:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Mar0...c36849811cf27c

Quote:
Here it is... I'd say this comes pretty close to my own ideal. At least it's the kind of sound I'll be aiming at for the duet recordings...
I must admit I don't recall what I used as spot mics, main mic must have been AKG C460/CK62DF. No artificial reverb. And if you listen closely, you'll hear the birds outside... This is not the Richard Egarr performance I mentioned above, BTW.

Daniel
Are these cars that I hear in the backround? Like a low rumble?!?
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