Harpsichord Festival

On Thursday February 23rd , the chapel hosted a Festival Day of events using a beautiful newly built harpsichord. The instrument used was a copy of an anonymous instrument, the original of which is now in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The day featured a lunchtime concert by Ensemble Hesperi on period instruments, a masterclass and Evensong. 

Lunchtime Concert Programme

Trio Sonata in G major BWV 1038              Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Largo – Vivace – Adagio – Presto

Airs for the Seasons (Spring)                                      James Oswald (1710-1769)

The Phesant’s Eye – The Crocus – The Tulip

Trio Sonata in G, ‘In Imitation of Corelli’             William McGibbon (1690-1756)

Adagio – Allegro – Largo – Allegro

Ciaccona                                                            Tarquinio Merula (c. 1594-1665)

Canzoni over sonate concertate

Sonata a 3 (D-moll): TWV 42: D10             Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)

Allegro – Adagio – Allegro – Presto

During the afternoon, Worcester College’s music students took part in a masterclass with harpsichordist Steven Devine. Students from all years played pieces by Bach, Byrd, Gibbons, and Gabrielli and were inspired by Steven’s energy and insight into the repertoire and technique. Each term Worcester students have the opportunity to perform in the Provost’s Lodgings on the harpsichord there. The instrument was equally at home in repertoire by all of these composers and students had the opportunity to learn some of the technical detail involved in harpsichord playing.

The Director of Chapel Music, Thomas Allery, gave a short pre service recital including repertoire contemporary with the original instrument by d’Anglebert and Froberger, as well as the first performance of an unmeasured prelude by Professor Robert Saxton, Fellow and Tutor in Music at Worcester College. To finish the day, the chapel mixed choir sang an evensong of music by Purcell accompanied and directed by Thomas Allery at the harpsichord who ended the service with a Handel voluntary played on the harpsichord.

This is just one of the many musical events going on within Worcester College this term.

Second year organ scholar, Alex Palotai said about the day: “this was such a wonderful experience…it was great to hear and play the new instrument and learn about some of the technique of harpsichord playing. I found it particularly interesting to think of ways in which some of the ideas in the piece I played in the masterclass to Steven might transfer to my organ playing. To have been taught under the expert guidance of Steven Devine was really wonderful… I’m really looking forward to our next similar event.”

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