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Cembalo Mietke [Back to Library]

Producer: Sonus Paradisi
Manuals: 2
Pedalboard: No
Audio Ouput:
Date Built: 2005


The featured instrument was built by the workshop Jan Bečička & Stanislav Hüttl & Petr Šefl, Hradec Králové, in 2005.It is modelled according to the two-manual harpsichord of a German type, the historical instrument conserved at Charlottenburg, built by Michael Mietke (Berlin) in about 1710. The measures of the modern replica we recorded are taken from this historical instrument which served as a template. Strings are from brass. Tuning was set to the original 415 Hz. The compass is FF-f3 with disposition I 8´, I 4´, II 8´, II buff stop (Laute). Manual coupler.

The instrument is remarkable by warm, gentle, colorful sound, which, especially in descant is not that sharp and strident, but more piano-like.

The historical original (the template) of this harpsichord is today in the ownership of Staatliche Schloesser und Museen, Berlin, deposited in Charlottenburg. It was built between 1703-1713 by Michael Mietke. This estimation is based on the fact, that harpsichord had to be japanned before 1713 and its original compass is thought to be later than 1703. The instrument is mentioned as „the black harpsichord.“ Originally, its compass was FF,GG,AA-c3 (fifty-four notes), strings from brass with pitch A = 395-400 Hz. Later in the eighteenth century, the compass was extended to FF,GG-e3 (fifty-nine notes). The keyboards were moved two courses of strings towards the bass. Descant strings changed to iron ones and the pitch was set higher to 415 Hz.

The harpsichord was originally made for Queen Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, mother of Frederick the Great, and placed in her private palace of Monbijou and worked on by Johann Rost in 1720. It was brought to Charlottenburg Castle in modern times.

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