Aglow with creative fire: My NYC visit with harpsichordist, Elaine Comparone

elaineshandshubbard

The centerpiece of my trip back East this past weekend was meeting up with Elaine Comparone in her acoustically magnificent West Side apartment.

Two splendid harpsichords of incomparable beauty, a custom made Dowd and Hubbard, graced a divinely resonant space with a cathedral high ceiling. And with a snap of my fingers I ignited a bright and brilliant reverb that musicians lust after in the presence of responsive musical instruments such as these:

It was this same fire, that lit up another space and captured my attention a year before. A Facebook link had led me to Comparone’s “red-blooded” harpsichord playing as she stood, no less, in the musical spotlight. (Hubbard Harpsichords, Unlimited, designed a tall oak stand in consultation with Elaine, that elevates the instrument to required height) It had been “dubbed” the “Brooklyn Bridge” by technicians. Talk about innovation.

Comparone performing Scarlatti Sonata, K. 517 in D minor:

Gushing with enthusiasm, I found Elaine’s You Tube Channel and raced to “Subscribe,” be-”friend” and “like” just about anything she had uploaded including the works of J.S. Bach, Rameau, Couperin, Scarlatti, among other composers. Soon enough I found the Queen’s Chamber Band, her majesty’s ensemble of fine local musicians who perform early music and newly commissioned works as part of an ongoing concert series. Harpsichord Unlimited, the non-profit umbrella organization, in which Comparone serves as Director, is “dedicated to stimulating interest in the harpsichord and teaching audiences about the instrument.”

A ground breaker is a good description of Elaine Comparone and her efforts to lift the harpsichord out of obscurity and into light of day. Just soaking up an afternoon in the life of this towering artist has inspired me to learn a bunch more Scarlatti sonatas, side-stepping the desired medium, of course, until I can well afford to order a custom designed Hubbard or Dowd from Massachusetts.

Hey, who on earth is pretending to play the Hubbard? What a daunting task with those black notes subbing in for white ones. And the whites raised up where the blacks are normally found. A dizzying panoply of keys, closely spaced, with an unfamiliar touch. I’d need a ton of practicing to get things rolling.

***

For now I think I’ll defer to a pro……

Related Links:

http://www.harpsichord.org/about-us.html

http://www.youtube.com/user/ecomparone

Hubbard Harpsichords:

http://www.hubharp.com/

About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: shirley_kirsten@yahoo.com OR http://www.youtube.com/arioso7 or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, http://facebook.com /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: http://twitter.com/arioso7 Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
This entry was posted in Couperin, Domenico Scarlatti, Dowd Harpsichord, Elaine Comparone, Harpsichord Unlimited, J.S. Bach, Jean Phillipe Rameau, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Aglow with creative fire: My NYC visit with harpsichordist, Elaine Comparone

  1. Harriet says:

    Interesting! What is the reason for standing while playing?

  2. Hi Harriet, From Elaine’s bio, it says that she “enjoys” standing at the Harpsichord to play. Another quote, “She sites Vermeer paintings as an inspiration along with the fact that she’s a member of the rock-and-roll generation.”

    This woman is too cool to believe.. The way I see it, she may get the leverage, and weight transfer, etc. freedom of movement in this posture. I will forward your question onto to her.

    Shirley K

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