Berlin [Mietke-harpsichord]
During their regional studies the Akademie fuer historische Auffuehrungspraxis came across an historical harpsichord in Berlin's Charlottenburg Castle which was built by the well-known Berlin maker Michael Mietke (1671 - 1729). The single manual instrument, which was built around 1700, was often played by Queen Sophie Charlotte herself and was presumably used for the performance of the opera "La fede ne'tradimenti" in the summer of 1701. It combines the influence of Italian harpsichord style with a strong individual character. For example, the body of the instrument is relatively long and this could be what has given the instrument its particularly warm timbre.
The members of the Akademie fuer historische Auffuehrungspraxis were allowed to examine and measure the instrument in its current home. With this new information plans were drawn up to build a copy of this extraordinary harpsichord. The sound of the new instrument is doubtless close to that of the original. With particular attention having been given to all points of construction the new instrument is identical to the highly decorated original. The jacks have been fitted with quills which gives the instrument a dense and warm sound laden with overtones. Due to the favourable touch the performer is given great freedom in articulatory differentiation.
It is apparent that J. S. Bach also valued Michael Mietke's work in Berlin. During his period at the court in Coethen he supposedly ordered instruments from the famous harpsichord builder. Although not proven, it is presumed he came to Berlin in 1718 and played upon the instrument now exhibited in the Charlottenburg Castle.