Ioannes Couchet Harpsichord 1652
This harpsichord is one of the six works listed in the world and the only one preserved in France to our knowledge of the famous Luthier of Antwerp, Ioannes Couchet (1615-1655). Couchet ends this key in 1652, in Antwerp, Belgium.
In 1701, in France, in the court of Louis XIV, the instrument was reused, at that time, it was preferable to transform these instruments to put them to the taste of the day instead of changing them. The new decoration is formed by grotesque drawings on a golden background, “À la Bérain” (name of the decorator Jean Bérain). Its legs with caryatids is one of the rare originals of the time of Louis XIV.
France classified it as a national treasure, for the French state, acquired in 2003 by the Museum of music, this harpsichord is an exceptional piece for the high quality of its operation, the splendor of its decoration and its sound richness.
The harpsichord is an instrument whose strings are pinched with the help of the tip of a bird’s feather, fixed on a strip of wood (the Sautereau).
Its success in Europe extends from the sixteenth century (and even XV) until the end of the eighteenth century, when the piano, newer and more adapted to musical aesthetics, replaces it.
The whole instrument is made to scale, thanks to the plans provided by the Museum of the Philharmonic of Paris, an infinity of photos and drawings made in situ by the author.
A whole cabinetmaking work, which brings together many techniques, such as wood carving (all legs made of boxwood), English gilding, his elaborate painting work with drawings “À la Bérain”, and the most important of all, to know how a key is built step by step nowadays.
Inside it contains a system that when you operate your keyboard emits 24 songs recorded on the original instrument.
This piece can be viewed at the Kathleen Savage Browning Collection Museum in Kentucky.