John Kitchen’s recital was on three of the 22 historic keyboard instruments gifted to the University of Edinburgh in 2005 by Rodger and Lynne Mirrey.
The only surviving Thomas Barton harpsichord of 1709 is also one of very few early-eighteenth century English harpsichords remaining. It is nothing special to look at, but from it comes really rich music. John Kitchen told us how fond of it he was. On it he played music by Byrd, Purcell, Frescobaldi, Pasquini and Scarlatti.
Moving to a 1740 clavichord, probably made in Saxony, John Kitchen spoke in a whisper to prepare us for the much quieter music we were about to hear. But for all that he was right to say that our ears soon adjusted as he played two anonymous Dutch pieces and then a lament from Froberger. Laments were all he ever wrote, we were told.
Soft drinks and biscuits downstairs in the interval was also the opportunity to buy Delphian CDs of music recorded by John Kitchen. It took a while to be allowed back into the Concert Hall but when we were, it was to discover that the third instrument had been getting a last minute tuning.
On the Kuhlbörs pianoforte of about 1805 John Kitchen played Adagio in G by Haydn and then Haydn’s Fantasia in C, written, as we were told, when the composer was particularly happy. Finally Three Songs without words by Mendelssohn - party pieces for those learning the piano. The music had been in John Kitchen’s home piano stool many a long year. And, of course, he made us smile all the way through this very happy and interesting concert. The applause from a sophisticated audience said it all. It was a full house - some had been turned away.
Event: Saturday 21 August, 3pm