Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Victor Hammer and the Revival of the Nineteenth-Century Clavichord




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



In 1929, the Austrian painter and type-set designer Victor Hammer (1882-1967) built his Opus 1 clavichord in Florence, Italy. This instrument is a copy of the ca. 1800 J. Lusser clavichord now in the German National Museum in Nuremberg. Hammer's clavichord is a milestone in many ways. It is an early copy of a rare survival of nineteenth-century Austrian clavichord building. Furthermore, it and Hammer's other surviving clavichord arguably represent the only instruments built in historical style between the cessation of Dolmetsch's work with the Gaveau firm in 1914 and the opening of the Skowroneck and Hubbard and Dowd shops in the 1950s. Hammer's intention was to produce a number of such clavichords, a plan that, had it not been interrupted by WWII, would surely have changed the direction of the revival of the clavichord in the second half of the twentieth century. This lecture will compare Hammer's Opus 1 with the Lusser clavichord to establish how true Hammer stayed to his historical example, and will provide an assessment of the musical and historical importance of Lusser's and Hammer's work.

Conference Name

International Clavichord Symposium

Conference Location

Magnano, Italy

This document is currently not available here.