This research project, funded by the British Academy for two years, August 2010-August 2012, investigates performance practices involved in performing and recording Mozart’s sonatas on a historic clavichord made by Johann Adolphe Hass in 1763. MOZART ON THE HASS CLAVICHORD.doc The instrument is in the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments.

I have long admired the sound of this particular instrument, as well as its very special physical challenges to the player, and the opportunity to record Mozart on it is an immense privilege. The documentation of this research project will be uploaded to this site periodically as the project nears completion. Some video footage from the recording sessions is already viewable on my YouTube channel (johnalanirving).

The project CD includes a selection of Mozart’s piano sonatas on this historic instrument, recorded in spring 2011 which is currently in the edit stage.


Mozart first encountered the clavichord as a small boy, at home in Salzburg, where his father kept a 5-octave instrument made by Stein of Augsburg. This is perhaps the instrument on which the young genius first attempted to play and on which his earliest compositions, some of which will be included in this recording project, took shape. The clavichord was the preferred domestic keyboard instrument throughout the eighteenth century and was the pedagogic tool par excellence.

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