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Bach Perspectives 11

J. S. Bach and His Sons

Web Companion 7: The Breslau Schloss and Shudi's Harpsichords (53–56; Table 7, p. 80)

Figure 1

7.1 (p. 51): Breslau Schloss, 2nd floor, Rear Wing (constructed 1751/52). Floor plan, Baron von Wilczeck, 1834/35, including a portion of the apartments of Frederick II. By 1752 the music room, bedroom, study, and library were habitable. This wing of the palace was destroyed in World War II. Room numbers follow the floor plan and differ from those of the palace inventories.

Room 51: Speisesaal (dining salon)

Room 52: Concert-Saal (concert salon); room IV, 1752 (p. 53)

Room 53: Concert-Zimmer (music salon) (p. 53)

Room 54: Friedrich des Grossen Zimmer (Frederick "the Great" room), according to the 1835 floor plan

Room 57: Ausgangszimmer nach der Rampe (exit chamber to the ramp)

Room 58: Bibliothek (library)


Figure 2

7.2 (pp. 5355; Tables 78, pp. 8081): Double-manual harpsichord by Burkat Shudi, no. 496 (1765), prior to restoration. Formerly in the royal music salon, Breslau Schloss, inventory number 73; acquired by the Museum of Musical Instruments, Poznań. Photo: Beniamin Vogel, 2011.

     The instrument is pictured as it was in 2011, before a slight restoration was undertaken. It measures 103 x 96 cm. At the time of writing the instrument is on temporary loan to the Breslau Schloss museum. Note that the instrument does not feature the elaborate gilding of harpsichords no. 511 and 512, and as such probably represents the condition in which Shudi delivered nos. 511 and 512 to Potsdam (at which point the gilding of those instruments in gold or silver, to match their respective destinations, likely took place; see p. 58).

     NB: The photos of this instrument have been generously provided by Beniamin Vogel, the Polish organologist who in 2011 was the first to identify the instrument, and whose personal inspection and evaluation of the instrument brought it to light. My grateful thanks go to the Bach scholar Szymon Paczkowsi for connecting me with Vogel, whose work came to my attention only after Bach Perspectives 11 had gone to press.


Figure 3

7.3: Shudi harpsichord no. 496, close-up of the manuals (after restoration). Photo: Beniamin Vogel, 2011.


Figure 4

7.4: Shudi harpsichord no. 496, name batten (prior to restoration). Photo: Beniamin Vogel, 2011.


Figure 5

7.5: Shudi harpsichord no. 496, detail of soundboard, signed and dated, but labeled no. 497: "Burkat Tschudi | 4.9.7. [. . .] | ao 1765 | Lond . . ." (see p. 55). Photo: Beniamin Vogel, 2011.


Figure 6

7.6: Shudi harpsichord no. 496, view of the manuals and two of the machine stop knobs (pre-restoration). Note especially the veneer with colorful, burly wood grain, a feature of this and the other Shudi harpsichords owned by Frederick II, which Charles Burney, mistook for tortoiseshell during his visit to Potsdam (see p. 59). Photo: Beniamin Vogel, 2011.


Figure 7

7.7: Shudi harpsichord no. 496, close-up of the raised lid and soundboard (pre-restoration). Photo: Beniamin Vogel, 2011.


Figure 8

7.8: Shudi harpsichord no. 496, detail from one of the legs (pre-restoration). Note the Prussian Eagle (coat of arms of the Kingdom of Prussia) depicted in bas-relief. All of the stands Shudi created for the king's instruments appear to have been specially designed with legs bearing the Prussian coat of arms and cleverly matching ball-and-claw "eagle-feet" (compare 8.6d). Photo: Beniamin Vogel, 2011.


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