Over the weekend, I visited the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in Colonial Williamsburg. There, I was greeted by a fantastic exhibit of harpsichords and piano fortes. Usually, when I think of the harpsichord, I envision men in powdered wigs and ladies in voluminous skirts delicately dancing the Minuet. Yet, as I stood before an instrument that was over 300 years old, I remembered that Allan Blank wrote music for the harpsichord.
Subsequently, “Trio for Flute, Violin and Harpsichord” is the only full score I’ve found for this particular instrument. However, I did find several sketches that pair the harpsichord with either the bassoon (there it is again!), or the flute. So, while the harpsichord seems like a remnant from a bygone era, modern composers like Allan Blank continued to write compositions for the instrument. Trying to find a way to make what once was old, new again.
If you have a chance, I highly recommend you check out the exhibit, “Changing Keys: Keyboard Instruments for America, 1700-1830” which runs through July 29th!