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date: 15 November 2019

Cembalo espressolocked


A novel type of harpsichord built about 1750 by Don Diego Fernández in Madrid. It is called for in two sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, k356 and 357, only in the Parma collection of his works (1754), where these sonatas are scored on four staves. The instrument is said to have been envisioned by Farinelli in response to a desire of Queen Maria Barbara for a more expressive harpsichord, and designed by him and Fernández. Farinelli’s estate inventory describes it as having copper, steel and gut strings that can be played separately or in combination by means of pedal- and hand-operated registers, some divided bass and treble: (1) 4′, full compass; (2) archlute, full compass; (3) harp, bass compass, with gut strings; (4) 4′, bass compass; (5) archlute and 4′, full compass; (6) harp and harpsichord, full compass; (7) harpsichord sounding ‘as flute’, full compass; (8) 4′, treble compass; (9) harp, treble compass, with gut strings; (10) harp, full compass, with gut strings. The keyboard range was evidently five octaves, ...

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