Keyboard Mini-Festival

2019 Festival | June 9–16, 2019

Keyboard Mini-Festival

Friday, June 14 from 9am to 4pm
First Church Boston

The Keyboard Mini-Festival is presented in partnership with the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies

PART ONE: 9AM TO 11AM  |  BENJAMIN ALARD, clavichord


featuring a 1789 German clavichord by Johann Christoph Georg Schiedmayer

Following an astonishing BEMF début in June 2017, the young French virtuoso keyboard player Benjamin Alard returns in a recital featuring an original 1789 Schiedmayer clavichord, built in the Bavarian town of Neustadt an der Aisch. Johann Schiedmayer was the eldest son of a distinguished instrument-making family that continues to this day, and an identical clavichord dated 1796 in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, indicates that this was an established and successful design. Mr. Alard’s program explores the influence of the north and south German schools on J. S. Bach and includes pieces by two important influences on his early development: Johann Pachelbel, a master of the south German school, taught Bach’s older brother, who in turn tutored Johann Sebastian, while the teenage Bach knew north German master Georg Böhm in Lüneburg.

PART TWO: 11:30AM TO 1:30PM  |  BYRON SCHENKMAN, fortepiano


featuring an 1875 Austrian grand piano by Johann Baptist Streicher

Dreams and Nocturnes: Early Romantic Piano Music
The distinguished keyboard virtuoso Byron Schenkman makes his first BEMF appearance since the 2001 Festival in an exploration of repertoire of the early Romantic period performed on an original 1875 grand piano byJ. B. Streicher. The pianos of this period were complex instruments, capable of bringing out a variety of moods and colors—Brahms owned a Streicher piano and recommended that Clara Schumann acquire one. As the roles of musicians and composers shifted in the first half of the 19th century, composers sought to express themselves in more personal ways than their predecessors. From the late untitled works of Schubert, to the nocturnes of Szymanowska and Chopin, to the fanciful character pieces of Robert Schumann, these musicians shared their innermost feelings through music.



featuring a 1991 French double-manual harpsichord by Allan Winkler, after Pierre Donzelague (1711)

Benjamin Alard returns for a program inspired by a musical duel that never quite came to be. In 1717, the flamboyant French harpsichordist Louis Marchand arrived in Dresden and quickly won favor with the king. Wary court musicians brought in J. S. Bach to challenge Marchand to a contest of skills, which rapidly escalated into a grand spectacle for the monarch. Recognizing he was out of his depth, Marchand fled the city at dawn, leaving Bach the victor by forfeit. Marchand’s Suite in D minor—a piece Bach studied