The Taskin harpsichord of the National Museum of Music (MNM) in Lisbon was the subject of an intervention and is rehearsed on Saturday at a recital by Kenneth Weiss, who prepared a special program on French Baroque for this instrument of 1782.
The American artist said that he will present a program dedicated to 11 composers of the French Baroque, entitled “Les Elements, Pièces de caractères”, with works marked by their narrative power, in the representation of objects, ideas or emotions.
The program consists of works by Rebel, Sainte-Colombe, Louis, Armand-Louis and François Couperin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Joseph Bodin de Boismoitier, Jean-Henri d’Angleterre, Jean François d’Andrieu, François d’Agnicourt and Louis-Claude Daquin, covering a period that goes from the intermediate baroque in the seventeenth century to the late synthesis of the eighteenth century, contemporary of the harpsichord Taskin, MNM.
The Taskin Carnation was built by Pascal-Joseph Taskin in 1782 in response to an order from King Louis XVI of France to offer it to his sister, Ana Clotilde, and was later owned by the Royal House of Savoy.
In the twentieth century, it was in possession of the last king of Italy, Humberto II, who, when he went into exile in Portugal, offered him to the marquise of Cadaval, Olga Pereira de Melo (1900-1996), in gratitude for having received his family in your home.
The heirs of the Marquesa wanted to sell the Cravo Taskin at an auction in London in 2001, and the Portuguese state avoided his departure from the country by acquiring it. It then became part of the MNM collections.
On the restoration, MNM director, Graça Mendes Pinto that “it was first necessary to analyze and verify what was necessary for him to play again – and with the sound of a stud of this period and of this constructor”.
According to Graça Mendes Pinto, the carnation is “inaugurated” by Weiss, one of the most renowned international performers, who said that his “initial approach will be one of veneration, then find the best way to make it sound again. ”
For this recital, on Saturday at 18:00 in MNM, “the program was carefully constructed to tell a story,” Weiss told.
“I have selected twenty works by eleven composers to tell a comprehensive story that portrays concepts that are going to come together,” he says. from the fire to a flea, to showcase this rich and unique musical genre, “he said.
“The works I’m going to play are among the plays that would have been performed at the Taskin when it was built,” he added.
Harpsichord Taskin is classified as National Treasure, and for the musician, “there is always a sense of great enthusiasm before touching an ancient harpsichord.”
Taskin is steeped in the “musicians’ thoughts of hundreds of years ago, which expressed their joys and sorrows in that same instrument, [which elicits] a double feeling of humility and at the same time inspiring,” said Kenneth Weiss.
The musician revealed that he plans to record soon on the Taskin, not having advanced dates or the program that will interpret.
From Lisbon, where he has played several times, Weiss recalls “an attentive, friendly and knowledgeable audience”.
After Lisbon, Kenneth Weiss will perform at the Lincoln Center in New York.
Weiss attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York where he was born, studied with Lisa Goode Crawford at the Oberlin Conservatory, and with the cravist, regent and musicologist Gustav Leonhardt, pioneer of the historically informed interpretation movement at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam.
He was assistant to conductor William Christie and his period orchestra, Les Arts Florissants, in the early 1990s.
The choreographer divides his career between recitals, chamber music, teaching and conducting. He recently played in Nuremberg, Montpellier, Barcelona, Dijon, Geneva, Antwerp, Paris, Madrid, Santander, San Sebastian, Innsbruck, Santiago de Compostela and Bruges, among other cities.
In 2014, he published Bach’s “Well-Tempered Harpsichord”, recorded in the historic Ruckers-Taskin of the Music Museum of the Cité de la Musique in Paris.
The process of restoration of the Cravo Taskin, of the Portuguese museum, profusely decorated with oriental motifs, developed in several phases and required the collaboration of different specialists, who met in Portugal.
This process was the responsibility of the restorer Ulrich Weimer, who has long worked with this type of chordophones and had already restored another Taskin.
“It was a very careful process, which took into account not to be intrusive, removed old abusive restorations, namely the purpurin used to replace the gold leaf,” said Graça Mendes Pinto.