Collection of Historical Keyboards
Han's Studio for Piano houses a small but unique collection of historical-design keyboard instruments, representing the Medieval, Renaissance, and Late-Baroque periods.
French double harpsichord by Craig C. Tomlinson (Vancouver), 2010
Copy of the Pascal Taskin 1769
Equipped with 8' 8' 4' choirs and buff rail, this versatile late-Baroque harpsichord is suitable for everything from Bach, Rameau, and Couperin to Haydn and early Mozart. The keyboards and transposable and can be coupled.
Craig Tomlinson is a master builder of historical keyboards, and his instruments have been performed by renowned artists internationally. In Alberta, his harpsichords are used by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the University of Calgary, and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. This particular instrument has been featured in concert with Early Music Voices, Rosa Barocca, Calgary ProMusica, and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
ABOVE: Tomlinson French double: detail of soundboard rose
BELOW: Tomlinson French double and Redsell Italian virginal
Italian virginal by Matthew Redsell (Toronto), 1981
Copy of Renaissance design
The polygonal virginal is a small harpsichord with its strings perpendicular to the keyboard. This instrument design was first seen during around the late 15th Century. It has a short range but a very strong sound, which developed into the distinct timbre of the Italian Baroque instruments. It is suitable for Renaissance virginal school keyboard music.
This particular instrument was originally built for Gertrude Lazda. In 2018 it was donated as a restoration project to Han, who has since brought it back into playing condition.
Portative organ by Paolo Previtali (Milan)
Copy of Medieval design
This instrument, which was popular during the Italian Trecento period, dates as far back as the 11th Century. Modern knowledge of it derives from Medieval iconography in the form of paintings and illuminated manuscripts. The performer plays the keyboard with one hand while operating the bellows with the other.
French double harpsichord by Sabathil & Son (Vancouver Island)
Modernised development of French 18th Century design
On loan to the studio
As a company Sabathil began with production of 'revival harpsichords' and eventually began building more historically-informed instruments, but with some modern advancements in construction. This instrument is an example of the latter.
Previous Collection Item
Unfretted clavichord by Alec Hodsdon (Suffolk), 1960
Copy of Baroque design
(no longer in the collection)
The clavichord, which originated in the Medieval period, bears some resemblance to both the harpsichord and the piano. It produces sounds by pressing metal tangents to the strings; the tone is very soft but capable of limited dynamic nuances. It was popular as an instrument for practice and composition.
This particular instrument was acquired, restored, and subsequently sold in 2014.