The keyboard looks and even sounds a little like a harpsichord, but it’s not. It’s a fortepiano, the kind of instrument that Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven played – smaller than a modern piano, but perfectly suited to chamber music written 200 years ago.
Jeffrey Thomas of the American Bach Soloists has been fascinated by the shift from harpsichord to fortepiano for years.
Those hammers give the fortepiano a dynamic range, from whisper soft to raw and loud, that the harpsichord never possessed. This really appealed to Beethoven.
Performances of early classical music on period instruments are rare – particularly in summer. Each of these three concerts will be preceded by a Meet The Artist session, so you can see the instruments up close, and talk with the performers.
American Bach Soloists perform Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Studio Theatre of the
Mondavi Center at UC Davis.