Online concerts: Bach imbued with the sound of Saxony

Online concerts at Hatchlands Park

Bach imbued with the sound of Saxony

Josef Laming – harpsichord and piano
Harpsichord by Ferdinand Weber, London, 1746
(Adopted for 2020 by an anonymous donor)
Piano by Ferdinand Weber, Dublin, 1774
(Adopted for 2020 by Mrs P. Grayburn)

This concert was generously sponsored by Dr Charles & Mrs Jennifer Goldie.
We are also very grateful to those who have given donations that made these events possible.
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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

On the Weber Harpsichord:
Fantasia & Fugue in A minor, BWV 904

On the Weber Piano:
Praeambulum, BWV 924, from Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
Wer nun den lieben Gott lässt walten, BWV 691
Fugue in C major, BWV 952

On the Weber Harpsichord:
Partite diverse sopra ‘O Gott, du frommer Gott’, BWV 767
Praeludium et Partita del tuono terzo, BWV 833
Präludium; Allemande; Courante; Sarabande; Double

On the Weber Piano:
Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro in E-flat major, BWV 998

On the Weber Harpsichord:
Partia di Signore Steltzeln, by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690-1749),
from Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
Ouverture; Air Italien; Bourree; Menuet (with Menuet-Trio by JS Bach, BWV 929)
Prelude and Fugue in G minor, from Das Wohltemperierte Klavier I, BWV 861

The harpsichord and ‘Forte Piano’ used in this concert were both made by Ferdinand Weber (1715 – 1784), born and trained in Bach’s Saxony. At the age of 30 he came to London and shortly after built the harpsichord now at Hatchlands. In 1749 he went on to Dublin where he was hailed as that ‘excellent artist from Dresden’ and where he established himself as the most important builder of keyboard instruments in the kingdom.

In its veneering, his 1746 harpsichord resembles a typical London instrument of the time, but that conceals Saxon construction and mechanisms; the instrument possesses the drier more nasal Saxon sound quality and un-English colour changing facilities with which Bach would have been familiar all his life. Weber was probably the earliest to make pianos in the English-speaking world. Only two of his pianos survive and both are very different to the pianos that emerged in London during the 1760s, being representative of Saxon traditions prevailing in Bach’s lifetime and at the time of Weber’s departure in 1745.

All but one piece is by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750), the exception being a piece by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690 – 1749), which Bach copied out, adding to it a movement of his own composition.

Josef Laming plays harpsichord and organ and is currently a graduand of RAM, where he studies with Carole Cerasi & James Johnstone, and was awarded the Historical Performance ‘Enlightenment’ scholarship and won the Harold Samuel Prize for interpreting the music of JS Bach. Josef was previously organ scholar at New College, Oxford, and has worked as harpsichordist with the Oxford Bach Soloists. He appeared on CD with the Choir of New College and toured with them to the USA and Hungary. As an orchestral continuo player Josef has played in projects in the RAM ‘Bach the European’ series and as a chamber musician he has appeared at venues across London.
In September Josef will start studying at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. He has also been awarded the Samama Fellowship with Holland Baroque for the upcoming year.