Wolfson College Harpsichord

The Wolfson College Music Society harpsichord is a fine double-manual instrument in the Flemish style made by renowned Boston maker William Post Ross. The instrument was generously bought for and donated to the College by Professor Brian Moore, a long-standing supporter of the Music Society.

The instrument, no. 24 in Ross's catalogue, was built in 1968. It is a concert instrument with unusually powerful voices and rich sonorities. The two 8' stops are of pronounced individuality, and together with the shiny 4' stop, they mix well to give a full, harmonious tutti. The fine lute action carries remarkably well in the concert hall.

The keyboards each have 63 keys, from FF to g''', with ebony naturals and highly polished white bone sharps. The case measures 232 cm long, 94 cm wide, and 28 cm deep. The outside is painted dark green while the inside is dark red, both surfaces in a smoothly rubbed finish. The inside of the lid is decorated with gold bands. The inner sides and borders of the case are paper finished, matt varnished over for protection.

The antique spruce soundboard is hand painted in tempera with delicate flowers, leaves, butterflies, insects, etc, that follow the Flemish tradition. A Shakespeare sonnet is beautifully copied along the spine.

Close-ups of the iinterior decoration, including the maker's mark

The instrument is stored on the stage in the Lee Hall (on stage heating must be kept off at all times).

Because of its fragility it is available to play only by the most experienced players. Advanced keyboard players who would like to play the instrument must obtain permission from the Director of Music, Lyn Alcántara, by completing the application form.

The Music Society wishes to record its sincere thanks to Professor Moore for making this instrument available. It can be heard at termly Early Music Recitals.