The Concert Organizer’s

Harpsichord Excuse Sheet

Copyright © 1996 CBH

We’re slashing expenses and can’t justify your fee…
If you continue adopting the recession obsession of saving money instead of realistically looking at cost-effectiveness and concentrating on making money, your organization could be missing opportunities. Our all-inclusive Performance Fee compares more than favorably with the hire fees charged by other companies for a piece of sensitive specialist equipment of similar value.

We found someone cheaper…
The miracle of private enterprise: Use them, enjoy what you pay for and what you save—and we look forward to hearing from you next time around.

Our player will use his own…
This can work out quite well, but beware the many pitfalls. There should always be genuine artistic reasons for the choice of instrument, and harpsichords come in a bewildering array of shapes, sizes and styles. It is no longer possible to make a positive impression on persons of refined taste just by the presence of any old harpsichord on stage. It is no more ‘authentic’, for example, to use a French Double for accompanying Monteverdi than it is to play Bach on the piano. The harpsichord should rightly be a group expense—an artist must not be out of pocket for any professional cartage costs, but cannot be entitled to an additional hire fee above the other players simply because of the use of his own instrument. (All the orchestras in the world would fold the instant the violinists began demanding extra for the use of their own old Italian master fiddles, some worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars!) Lastly, and perhaps surprisingly, some players own decidedly inferior instruments, and manage to keep them in abysmal condition. Yech! These instruments are best avoided, for they give all harpsichords (and often all music) a bad name.

We’re thinking of purchasing an instrument, and don’t want to lose money hiring one…
Hiring a instrument can let you put it through its paces to see just how well it performs under a variety of circumstances. When the purchase question looms seriously, we will match you with the best possible harpsichord for your requirements: We often have suitable new instruments for delivery ex stock.

We’re going to try to borrow one from someone else…
Good. But when you tire of wasting your valuable time trying to find an even remotely suitable instrument, ascertaining its condition, checking insurance cover, organizing safe return transport (or hiring a vehicle and lugging it yourself!) and ensuring it will be properly prepared for the concert, all with different parties, call or fax us. You don’t need an MBA from Harvard to realize the cost benefit of using our services to deliver the best quality instruments on time with a minimum of fuss, and releasing all those hours for what you do best.

We have our own harpsichord…
If your organization already owns an instrument, it must often be used to justify its existence: If the initial choice was a good one, this need not be a bad thing. With the ownership of any instrument, however, comes the responsibility of upkeep. Some institutions balk at paying even 1% of the replacement price each year on professional maintenance, and as a result their harpsichords languish along with all their other instruments. Hopefully not your establishment! But unless you need to use a harpsichord publicly at least half a dozen times per year, you might be better served by calling us to help dispose of your current instrument before it becomes a liability that nobody wants to play even reluctantly, and then you can hire the best quality instrument, matched to your repertoire on an as need basis throughout the year.

It’s not an important enough event to warrant even a half-decent harpsichord…
Then don’t waste your time, or that of all your musicians, in being involved with it. You wouldn’t expect your string players to make music on $150 plywood fiddles with screws, so don’t insult your harpsichordist similarly.

We’re playing several venues, and can use the harpsichords there….
There are enough stressful variables attached to performing in different environments without having to cope with vastly different instruments, even if we could assume they are all in perfect working order. A rank and file string player wouldn’t consider playing a different instrument each night of the week, let alone a principal player or leader, so why should the harpsichordist? When you are convinced of the genuine artistic benefits of using high quality instruments chosen for the repertoire, a tour or series becomes so much easier for the players with the consistency of the same keyboard instrument throughout.

But we have a hectic touring schedule…
Are you challenging us to keep up? If we can’t do it by road, our flightcase can go anywhere your group can by air, often on the same scheduled passenger flights. And if you’re already flying a small orchestra around, perhaps booking extra seats for fragile stringed instruments and freighting bulky double-basses, how much extra is a real harpsichord going to cost?

OK, we’re convinced…
Now you’re talking. Refer to our Hire details page. It lists our instruments available with service details and enough pricing to help you plan your project with ease.


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