Arnold Dolmetsch, a Bach double harpsichord concerto and the genesis of the early dance revival.

Nellie Chaplin in 1910

By Guest Blogger: Mandy Macdonald

One fine morning in the summer of 1904 a van drew up at our door and from it emerged Arnold Dolmetsch and a harpsichord. He had previously asked me to play in Bach’s Double Concerto in C major with Miss [Kathleen] Salmon […]

A nineteenth-century harpsichord promoter, with a famous music collection, who had dealings with Arnold Dolmetsch, Part 2

Taphouse’s 1743 Hass clavichord. By kind permission of the Bate Collection, Faculty of Music, University of Oxford. Copyright © 2016

T.W. Taphouse and early keyboards

In 1857, when he was aged just 19, Taphouse bought “a remarkably fine harpsichord by Shudi and Broadwood [made in 1773]” which “led me to take an interest […]

A nineteenth-century harpsichord promoter, with a famous music collection, who had dealings with Arnold Dolmetsch, Part 1

The library of T.W. Taphouse was very famous during his lifetime and his harpsichords were often used for concerts and exhibitions. His name is now forgotten, and it’s a tragedy that everything was sold off after his death. […]

Arnold Dolmetsch’s competitors in 1904

“Indefatigable propagandists of ancient music” likened to Arnold Dolmetsch. Their hugely popular early music entertainments began in 1904, and continued for 25 years. […]

Diana Poulton, pioneer lutenist & Dowland expert – the biography

An introduction to the fascinating life of Diana Poulton who was an early music pioneer, lutenist, editor, and biographer of John Dowland. Poulton studied with Arnold Dolmetsch, extensively researched early sources herself and taught several generations of lutenists, many of whom have since become internationally famous. […]

Early Dolmetsch family recordings on CD

The Dolmetsch Family with Diana Poulton: Pioneer Early Music Recordings, volume 1 is an important historical document for anyone who’s interested in two generations of early music pioneers who were active before the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt era even began. […]

E.H. Fellowes, the scholar and performer who “found” the English composer, John Dowland, and rediscovered the lute song. Part 4 of 4


For me, two stories from Fellowes’ 1946 autobiography, Memoirs of an Amateur Musician, stand out:

Byrd’s Great Service

According to Fellowes, “the greatest thrill in the course of the whole of [his] researches” was finding Byrd’s Great Service, which he stumbled upon while visiting Durham to complete some Gibbons anthems. As soon as […]

Arnold Dolmetsch – the greatest early music pioneer of the 20th century?

Arnold Dolmetsch with his family in 1932.

Reproduced by kind permission of the University of Melbourne, [Percy] Grainger Museum. For full details see here.

I mentioned in my last post that Mary Potts is remembered only in her obituaries, the most complete of which was published in The Bulletin, the house journal of the […]

The Early Music revival, does anyone still care?

Early Music (i.e. music up to around 1800) started to become more widely popular after World War II. This blog will primarily be about the pioneers who re-discovered this repertoire and started playing it on original instruments, or modern copies, in the authentic style, which is now often called historically informed performance, or HIP for […]