Extracts from some reviews of The Hubert Clavichord Data Book
by Koen Vermeij
Darryl Martin, writing in Clavichord International, November 2000:
- The publication of The Hubert Clavichord Data Book has been long awaited by most researchers and makers of clavichords … All eighteen surviving instruments have been measured and listed, in addition to the small portable instrument dated 1776 which was lost during the last war. Normally, a large collection of figures makes daunting reading, however the book is laid out in a fashion that makes following the measurements a very simple process. Each instrument has been catalogued in exactly the same manner and the information presented in a logical format. The right hand page gives the data – complete with useful diagrams to show exactly what has been measured, and often icons, which, coupled with the code found in the introduction, make comprehension very simple. Once the reader is familiar with the codes, they become second nature. The right third of the page is for various notes which clarify the measurements. The left hand page has various photographs, often six or more a page, which are referred to in the notes, giving a clear pictorial illustration of things which still may be unclear.
- As a researcher who also tends to make a very large number of measurements of an examined instrument I might be biased towards the approach used, but wearing another hat – that of a maker – I attempted to follow a description in the book to see if the information was in any way either inadequate or superfluous. Using a description of an instrument I am unfamiliar with, I found I was able to generate enough information to allow me to make a reproduction of its basic form … The tables at the rear allow comparisons to be made at a glance, giving the reader a familiarity with the various changes that Hubert made from instrument to instrument, and also provoking questions. As Vermeij says, there is still much work on Hubert still to do, and this book constantly provides things for future researchers to consider … In summing up, the book has been worth the wait. It will, I hope, be purchased by all makers, researchers, museums, and even hopefully players who have an interest in Hubert clavichords. Given the makers instruments, which many twentieth century people consider to be the finest surviving examples of clavichords, it is a book whose importance cannot be overestimated, and will hopefully lead on to further research …
- Charles Mould, writing in The Galpin Society Journal LIV, 2001:
- Koen Vermeij has published a work of monumental importance to those who research, make, restore and play the clavichord. Though the book is devoted to only one maker there is much here to be gleaned on aspects of keyboard practice such as measurement, preservation and instrument design for those whose interest is less specialised.
- Your reviewers admiration is unbounded for the author, whose presentation of this book, its thoroughness, its readability and clarity make it a milestone in the examination of the work of one maker. One trembles to think how much time and care has gone into the publication of this meticulously documented study. It is a work for the specialists, but at the same time it gives many insights into the general craft of clavichord making. I warmly commend it to anyone interested in the clavichord and not just those who are devotees of the work of Hubert.
- Lewis Jones, writing in FoMRHI Quarterly, No. 103, April 2001 (Communication 1747):
- Vermeijs study represents a milestone in the systematic documentation of the work of a single keyboard instrument maker, and though it will be essential for makers and players of that instrument, its value as an example of such documentation extends its value to all serious students of instrument history and design.