With the renovation of their hall well under way, The Friends of St Cecilia’s Hall brought a harpsichord to St Andrew’s and St George’s West for two recitals, each of an hour and a half. I was at the first and it was fascinating to watch a young Frenchman, Jean Rondeau, demonstrate his passion and skill.
Born in Paris in 1991 Jean Rondeau has studied the harpsichord for many years and has become an enthusiastic ambassador for the instrument. The harpsichord was widely used in Renaissance and Baroque music, but by the late 18th century it was replaced by the more versatile piano. Fortunately we can still hear it played, perhaps more so in Edinburgh than anywhere with the collection at St Cecilia's Hall.
The harpsichord we watched on the stage of the church was built by Australian maker, Bill Bright, and is a typical example of the type found in Paris in the 18th century. However, it was recently given a complete restoration by Willie Hendry in his Bonnyrigg workshop and loaned for these concerts.
Jean Rondeau was good at describing what he was about to play. He had entitled his recital Transformations of Dance. Deliberately the three composers were of the same era, Bach, Rameau and the less well known Pancrace Royer. The audience was entranced. This was his first visit to Edinburgh - let's hope we see him again.
Performance: Wednesday 24th August 2016 at 15:00