Keyboard Consideration is Still Glossed Over Today. For an explanation, let’s look back to the Baroque era. Its years were approximately 1600 – 1750. Very few composer/keyboardists in the Baroque era were said to have mastered even two types of keyboards! Most often, if they played the organ, they were deficient in the harpsichord. In reverse, if they could play the harpsichord, they were deficient in organ. This is the point of this blog: If two types of keyboards were confusing, even for geniuses; today we literally have hundreds of types. This of course takes into consideration the electronic wizardry which seems to multiply daily.
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (22 November 1710 – 1 July 1784), the second child and eldest son of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach. He was a German composer and performer. He possessed two mind sets for keyboard instruments: One for the organ. One for the harpsichord. Historian and contemporary of J.S. Bach, Johann Forkel, wrote: Their style (harpsichord and organ) and manner of playing differ as much as their respective destinations. That which at the harpsichord produces excellent effect, does not express anything at the organ and vice versa.”
Keyboard Consideration of Organ V. Harpsichord
Further on Forkel states how he only knew of two musicians equally adept at both: J.S. Bach and his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedmann Bach. He states: “Both were elegant virtuosos at the harpsichord. Once seated at the organ, it is impossible to perceive the slightest trace of the the harpsichordist.” Forkel states the following of Wilhelm Friedmann Bach: “I had the pleasure of hearing Wilhelm Friedmann at the harpsichord. All was delicate, elegant and pleasing. When I heard him at the organ, I was truly seized with religious respect. ”
Words of Keyboard Consideration from My Own Teacher- Mischa Kottler
Mischa studied in Paris and Vienna in the 1920’s. He worked with Alfred Cortôt in Paris and Emil von Sauer in Vienna. He told me right from the beginning, do not play the organ if you study piano. Seeing what Forkel just had to say about two different keyboard instruments, I think he was absolutely correct! Please share with friends that might be interested.
Mischa Kottler plays Rachmaninoff, Prelude in g# minor – YouTube
Mischa Kottler Plays Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G# minor
Here is an internal musical link: