Bradley Eros, artist and curator of the HPSCHD Lightcircus, works his magic on one of the instruments (Photo by Fabio Roberti)
The official HPSCHD video recap has surfaced, thanks to Christy Edwards/Space Cadet Films. A document of the performance on Saturday, May 4, Edwards takes you into every corner of Eyebeam’s gallery, filled with sound and light.
Composer John Luther Adams paid a surprise visit to the final performance of HPSCHD. After the concert, Neely Bruce shared his wisdom on the scores, while the “unflappable” Joe Kubera looked on.
Pianist Adam Tendler joined as a last-minute addition to the HPSCHD ensemble, performing Solo VII (any Mozart of your choice) as attendees entered Eyebeam’s gallery.
On-the-job New York Times critic Steve Smith (above, left) is more than amused to meet Richard Kostelanetz (right), who reviewed HPSCHD’s premiere for the same paper in 1969. Smith’s review is here, in which he describes the performance as “A gently mediated anarchy both clamorous and glamorous.”
This fantastic video courtesy of Andrew Uroskie captures a more panoramic view of the performance
Parting is such sweet sorrow…at the de-install earlier today with our amazing production coordinator, Ezra Teboul.
This video by Tomasz Berezinski is the first to surface on YouTube, and quite a good overview of the first few hours of Friday night’s performance.
The harpsichords have left the building. Thanks are due to each and every one of the performers, members of the creative team, and the staffs of ISSUE Project Room and Eyebeam for an exhilarating experience. Documentation will be posted to the Tumblr after we deinstall and catch our breath. HPSCHD, we did it! (picture of the event organizer by Joshua White)
For the final post of historical information on this HPSCHD tumblr (it’s been fun, people), what seems most authentic is to write about the harpsichords themselves. The premiere production of HPSCHD in 1969 was provided its instruments by America’s “original” harpsichord maker, Wolfgang Zuckermann, a German émigré and neighbor of Cage and Cunningham in Greenwich Village, whose “Z-Box” sold as a DIY construction kit for $150, resulting in the instrument’s widespread popularity during the 1960s. After penning his book, The Modern Harpsichord, Zuckermann expatriated in 1969, as protest against the Vietnam War, and by the 1980s, devoted himself fully to activist politics through a number of unique projects. Today, he lives in France and owns an English-language bookstore.
No less interesting is the small collection of instruments so generously donated to enable this weekend’s concerts. The musician Robbie Lee, who currently plays Medieval recorders and pump organ with the band Seven Teares, has lent the production his Zuckermann-designed Italian-style virginal (above, left)—the strings extend sideways across the box—while composer Tristan Perich's more traditional instrument (above, center) is based on a 17th century German model, and was built by Paul Maurici of Brooklyn. Barry London, sound designer (and then some) for the band Oneida has offered up his Baldwin electric harpsichord (above, right), a much sought-after keyboard which originated in the 1960s, and which is coincidentally what Solo I was written to be performed on (Neely Bruce requested one specifically). Taken altogether, the collection forms something of a mini harpsichord museum, and Darmstadt expresses its most heartfelt thanks to the benefactors.—Nick Hallett