Ruders: 'Cembal d'Amore'
1st December 2007
Co-commissioned with the Danish government, Speculum Musicae asked Ruders for an encore after performing Book I four years ago. Both works share strong neoclassical connotations. In this new work, however, the neoclassical elements appear predominantly in the titles of the eight movements such as Allemande, Corrente, and Gigue. Ruders states that "each of the eight movements is an etude or study in its own right, exploring not only various keyboard techniques, but also the manifold and exciting sonorous combinations that occur when pairing the two, on the surface, very disparate instruments the harpsichord and the modern piano."
The title is inspired by 18th-century German organ and harpsichord maker Gottfried Silbermann. Ruders says that Silbermann sought to "combine the subtleness of the clavichord with the more powerful approach of the harpsichord, rolling into one so to speak those two instruments." His invention, the "Cembal d'Amore" ("Harpsichord of Love"), emulated the Viola d'Amore, an instrument with two sets of sympathetic strings. Ruders explains, "the Viola d'Amore survived, whereas the Cembal d'Amore went the way of the Dodo and quickly became obsolete...it's a lovely name, though, and the perfect title."