The two manual French harpsichord is modeled after a 1769 Taskin and was built by Edward R. Turner, likely in 1975. It was added to EMV’s instrument collection after a generous donation by Carol Brauner.
Pascal Taskin (1723–1793) was the court harpsichord builder to both Louis XV and Louis XVI. What is called the ‘Taskin 1769’ is the most copied harpsichord in the world, noted for its extraordinary high level of craftsmanship and the lightness and evenness of its touch. Taskin’s innovations in harpsichord design included a special solo stop and a system of knee levers that permitted performers to change registers and play crescendos and decrescendos without taking their hands from the keyboard.
Canadian harpsichord maker Edward R. Turner studied at the school of art and design at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts before moving to Vancouver in 1962. After experimenting with the creation of folk music instruments, Turner moved to full time instrument building in the early 1970s, when he decorated three seventeenth-century style harpsichords made by Micheal Dunn for Early Music Vancouver.
Turner studied early keyboard instruments at the University of Edinburgh’s Russell Collection, where he created numerous technical plans and drawings of instruments from the collection that are still used by harpsichord makers around the world, including that of the Taskin 1769. By the time he ceased operations in 1985, Turner had made over thirty harpsichords, including one for the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China in 1984.