FRANK TWOMBLY HUBBARD (May 15, 1920 – February 25, 1976) was an American harpsichord maker, a pioneer in the revival of historical methods of harpsichord building.
* 1 Student days * 2 Historical harpsichords * 3 Hubbard\'s thoughts on the harpsichord * 4 Books * 5 See also * 6 Sources * 7 External links
Born in New York, Hubbard studied
While pursuing graduate study at Harvard, Hubbard and Dowd both
decided to leave to pursue instrument-making. In 1947, Hubbard went to
England, and became an apprentice at the workshop of Arnold Dolmetsch
He returned to the USA in 1949 and founded a workshop with Dowd building harpsichords on historical principles, rather than the 20th-century modern (now known as 'revival') style practised by virtually all professional makers, such as Robert Goble . They found work performing restorations of harpsichords in public and private collections which helped them improve their own practises of design and construction. In 1958 the partnership ended and Hubbard formed his own workshop on the Lyman estate in Waltham , Dowd opening a larger workshop in Cambridge .
From 1955–1958, with a
Fulbright Fellowship , American
Philosophical Society Grant and Belgium American Educational
Foundation CRB Fellowship, he was able to examine many more
instrumental collections in Europe. From 1967 to 1968, he set up the
restoration workshop for the Musée Instrumental at the Paris
Conservatoire . In the 1970s, he taught courses at Harvard and Boston
University . At the time of the publication of his book, Three
He developed a harpsichord in 1963 based on a Pascal Taskin instrument of 1769 which was sold as a do-it-yourself kit. It included a manual and all the crucial parts, with the wooden items planed to the correct thickness but otherwise requiring finishing. In this way any person with a good grasp of woodworking and basic knowledge of harpsichord making, with dedication and careful work, was able to produce a fine instrument. By 1975, approximately 1000 of these instruments had been produced. Some of Hubbard "kit harpsichords" have been (and still are now in the 21st century) used as first-rate instruments in public recitals worldwide.
An amateur violinist, he also restored a number of early violins to
their original state and made early (pre-Tourte ) bows for instruments
of the viol and violin families. He has been described as "a gentleman
of the 18th and 20th centuries, an
HUBBARD\'S THOUGHTS ON THE HARPSICHORD
About the revival of authentic instruments for early music :
“ This man, this composer from the past, had a talent greater than anything I will ever have. He used the means at his disposal in an imaginative way that staggers my imagination. Therefore, the only word I can apply is arrogance to the people who feel they can devise a harpsichord more suitable to his music than the instrument he had, because he wrote his music for that harpsichord. That's why I feel so strongly that one should attempt to return to the original instruments.
To enter the past to this extent is anything but sterile; it is extremely creative. This is essentially what I am trying to do. To do my part in reviving this music. And every so often I see that people are making steps in this direction. Someone like Gustav Leonhardt comes along who has a completely new approach when compared with early 20th century approaches, to let's say, the unmeasured preludes of Couperin or the very free 17th century music . There are now groups of musicians approaching this music much as it was approached during the time that it was written. ”
The ideal harpsichord sound:
“ First, the harpsichord must stay out of the way; you must be able to hear what the player is doing, what his thoughts are. The second is to contribute something to the music; that is, to add some beauty of sound which might not be immediately imaginable to you if you were looking at the notes on a page. One you might regard as a negative quality, that of not interfering; and the other as a positive commentary. Further, in the best harpsichords you will find surprises, such as a sudden reedy brilliance in the tenor, or a profound bass, or the clarity of a bell -like sound in the treble. But all this must be very carefully tempered. The instrument must not have sustaining power that is too great, because one note will then obscure the one that follows; you must not have one part of the instrument that is too effective at the cost of another. Of course, it is difficult to find an instrument which is perfect for all things. ”
We have no reason to connect
We always used to think of Scarlatti as par excellence the harpsichord composer; play him on a Steinway grand and no question it's terrible. But I am not so sure that some of the qualities that you hear in a fortepiano might not be desirable for Scarlatti. ”
What we still don't know about the history of the harpsichord:
“ Of course, the great enigma is where it all came from—the early period of the harpsichord; but that is something that is very difficult to throw any more light on. ”
* Frank Hubbard: Three Centuries of
* Howard Schott: 'Hubbard, Frank (Twombly)', Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed June 8, 2007), http://www.grovemusic.com * Interview by Hal Haney in Harpsichord, vol.5, no. 1, April 1972. * Interview by Tom McGeary in The English