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Image of The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book
England, early 17th century
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
MU MS 168, p. 12

Image of Virginal

Italy, late 16th / early 17th century
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Image of Harpsichord

Italy, Florence, c. 1680
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge


It has never seemed very sensible to me to treat musicology and music performance as separate — or even conflicting — areas of study; surely each is a part of the other. When I first arrived in Cambridge in 1960, Thurston Dart was the prime and in those days lone advocate of pursuing both paths; he was keyboard player, orchestra director, musicologist, editor, writer, teacher and broadcaster — a fine and I thought very tempting mix. He was also blunt in his criticisms; seeing me in the street clutching a newly-purchased copy of the standard edition of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, he stopped me to point out that I had paid for ‘twenty errors on every page!’. He may have been exaggerating, but his proposed cure was most effective: ‘My dear sir, go to the Museum down the road and look at the real thing’.

One of the revelations of entering the Fitzwilliam Museum (in addition to the rare treat of parts of it being air-conditioned in summer) was the unique combination of artefacts it displayed: paintings together with furniture, ceramics with carpets, frightening armour alongside fragile glass, Beethoven’s watch facing Handel’s bookcase.

Image of Beethoven’s watch

Beethoven’s watch
England, c. 1800 (George Prior, London)
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
M/P.1 & A & B-1929

Image of Beethoven’s watch
Image of The Handel Bookcase

The Handel Bookcase
England, mid 18th century
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Image of The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book

Image of Harpsichord

Image of Virginal

And those ‘twenty errors on every page’? My present project is the re-editing for Musica Britannica of all the material in the Virginal Book which has not so far appeared in scholarly modern editions, trusting that by doing so I will manage to appease the ghost of Thurston Dart.

© Christopher Hogwood 2008


Image of Christopher Hogwood

Christopher Hogwood

Image of Hogwood, The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book

Christopher Hogwood CBE (b. 1941)

Born in Nottingham in 1941, Christopher Hogwood was educated at Nottingham High School, The Skinner’s School, Royal Tunbridge Wells and Pembroke College, Cambridge. A student of Music and Classics, he also pursued keyboard studies with Rafael Puyana in Spain and subsequently with Zuzana Ruzickova in Prague and Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam. Keyboardist with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, at the same time eager to play more baroque and early classical music on period instruments, Hogwood founded the Early Music Consort with David Munrow in 1965 and the Academy of Ancient Music in 1973. Director of the latter until 2006, he produced more than 200 recordings for Decca and revolutionized the way music is performed, recorded and heard. Equally at home in the neo-baroque and neo-classical repertoire, Hogwood regularly conducts leading opera companies and major symphony orchestras around the world. He was awarded the Martinů Medal in Prague in 1999.

A celebrated keyboardist and important collector of historical instruments, Hogwood has made numerous solo recordings on harpsichord and has done much to promote the clavichord. His Secret Handel, part of The Secret Clavichord series of CDs, was awarded a Diapason d’Or in January 2007. Also a noted musicologist, Hogwood has edited music from the sixteenth (Fitzwilliam Virginal Book) to the twentieth centuries (Elgar, Martinů, Stravinsky) and is chairman of the advisory board overseeing the new edition of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works (Packard Humanities Institute, 2014). Hogwood has also written on Handel, Haydn and Mozart and his most recent major work is Handel: Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks (Cambridge University Press, 2005). His books have been translated into numerous languages and his work on Handel – editing, performance, recording and writing – has won Hogwood numerous awards, including the Halle Handel Prize 2008.

Appointed Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1982 and Commander of the British Empire in 1989, Hogwood is Honorary Professor of Music at the University of Cambridge and Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London. He holds Fellowships at Jesus and Pembroke Colleges, Cambridge and is also a member of the Senior Common Room at Lowell House, Harvard University. He received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Cambridge in 2008.

Christopher Hogwood lives in Cambridge.

UCP 2008

Related Links

Selected Bibliography

C. Hogwood, The Trio Sonata, BBC Books, 1979 C. Hogwood, Music at Court, Gollancz, 1980 C. Hogwood, Handel, Thames & Hudson, 1988 (rev. edn. 2007) C. Hogwood, Handel: Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks, Cambridge University Press, 2005

Selected Discography

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, C. Hogwood, Decca / Folio Society 1981

Handel, The Musick for the Royal Fireworks, C. Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, Decca 1994

Music by Honegger, Martinů and Stravinsky, C. Hogwood and the Kammerorchester Basel, Arte Nova, 2005

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