On our last night in Maine we went to the St. John Episcopal Church in Southwest Harbor for a harpsichord concert by Gavin Black. The concert benefited the Westside Food Pantry, which serves several of the surrounding communities.
Mr. Black played Bach’s Overture in the French style, which consists of an overture followed by a collection of short dances. The piece allowed him to use both keyboards of his harpsichord and, through various minute adjustments in the position of the keyboards, extract all of the different sounds a harpsichord can produce. Interestingly, he used a tablet device to display the music and “turned the pages” by means of a foot pedal. The encore was a short piece by Couperin, one of Bach’s older contemporaries.
After the concert we went down to the basement of the church for a chance to talk with Mr. Black, who explained that a harpsichord is much closer, musically, to a lute than it is to a piano. It’s an interesting instrument that produces lovely, distinctive music when played by an expert like Mr. Black. It’s particularly well suited to the sinuous, complex compositions of the baroque era.
The little church, with a colorful (and sea-oriented) stained glass window above the altar, was a pretty spot for a concert, with good acoustics. It was a treat to end our trip with some beautiful music and a chance to contribute to a good cause, too.