Moshack's Harpsichord

As a flutist one has a natural interest in keyboard instruments. In 1989 I started an exciting project where I together with the museum "Falsters Minder" took the initiative of  the restoring of the oldest Danish harpsichord from 1770 built by Moritz Georg Moshack. The restoration was conducted by the harpsichord maker Helmut Zorn from Karlsruhe, then employed by Cembalobau Merzdorf.

See photos of Moshack's Harpsichord here.

Moshack worked in Copenhagen from 1759 - 1772 as an organ builder and instrument maker. In 1761 he got the royal monopoly of building and repairing organs, clavichords, and harpsichirds. His education was unknown, but the most well-preserved instruments show features from North German fashion, especially Hass in Hamburg. Hass harpsicord from Aalholm Slot.

See photos of the Hass Harpsichords here.

He sold instruments both to the Royal Theatre and private persons. At the theatre he had contact with Scalabrini and Sarti as well as with the Court. His connections with the music life of his time are seen from his remaining bills for instruments for organist Foltmar at Trinitatis Church and organist Göring at Our Lady Church. Furthermore he maintained the organs of  Nikolaj Church in 1771 and Holmen's Church  1772.

We know of no contemporary assessments of Moshack's instruments, but later they were considered to be as good as the best from abroad. Moshack was no doubt one of the most excellent instrument makers of his day.

A double CD with this instrument has been recorded where among other things you can hear music for flute and harpsichord from the "Aalholm Collection", which is a collection of sheet music mainly for flute found at Aalholm Castle in 1991. On that occasion I arranged an exhibition and 4 concerts where you could see and hear pieces of the 130 compositions of this collection, among which there are 3 so far unknown flute concertos by Agrell and Scheibe. Count Otto Ludvig Raben (1730-1791) studied flute in Paris 1750–54 with the flute virtuoso Michel Blavet, and he wrote a diary since he was 19 years old until his death. He played on a Thomas Lot flute of ivory.

There is certain documentation that Count Otto Ludvig Raben has played the flute accompanied by both the Moshack and the Hass harpsichords.

Music from the Aalholm Collection

Agrell: Flute Concerto - Presto  4:40
Blavet: Menuet  6:09, Moshack's harpsichord with flute
Wagenseil: Divertimento  6:17, Moshack's harpsichord

Rasmus Manley - a Danish Harpsichord Maker 

Rasmus Manley, Copenhagen (1957-) studied at the London College of Furniture 1989 – 1991 and from 1991 – 1992 with the English harpsichord builder Colin Booths. Since his return to Denmark Rasmus Manley has worked as a harpsichord builder with the building of new instruments and repairs of old ones, and he also lets out harpsichords and chamber organs to be used at concerts. As his customers can be mentioned: Concerto Copenhagen, The Royal Theatre, Denmark's Radio, Tivoli, and the Zealand Symphony Orchestra together with churches and small ensembles all over the country.

Rasmus Manley has supplied instruments for among others The Royal Danish Academy of Music and The North Jutland Academy of Music (Aalborg), churches, private persons, and for export.


Hass harpsichord from
Aalholm Castle

German harpsichord
built by Rasmus Manley