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RAVE REVIEWS


"I could not be happier with my lautenwerk clavicytherium. After having one of Steven Sorli's instruments on loan to me for a year, I fell in love. The instruments, in the same tradition in which they were invented, are a perfect marriage of form and function. The artistry of the design impacts the art you can create with it. And like music itself, it is beautiful even when silent. Though I love many plucked keyboard sounds, ever since I was in college, I found myself reaching to pull the lute buffs on most harpsichords I played. Why? Unless a harpsichord is truly exquisitely made, it is difficult to get a live or recorded sound that is truly desirable. That's why many people don't like the harpsichord: bad instruments, bad recordings, and bad players. Sorli's instruments produce a rich tone that blends with many instrumental timbres, textures, and styles, and I love the sympathetic resonance it gets in the upper register. Ever since playing one of his instruments, I thought maybe I would want one as my next keyboard. I debated commissioning a new double manual harpsichord, but because I enjoy playing a wide range of keyboard instruments and music in many styles, it made the most sense for my personal and professional needs to invest in a clavicytherium because of space concerns in my music studio. On top of it, the action of the keys is so buttery smooth just like the wood they're lovingly carved from. I've had the pleasure of playing harpsichords owned by renowned musicians, and the action of this instrument is just perfect for me. Though I love all my keyboards in my personal collection, everything else feels sluggish in comparison. After playing one of his instruments, I knew there was no other builder who I could trust to give me an instrument that would suit my needs. So I decided to bring one of his into my home and, to repeat the main theme at the close: I could not be happier."-Stephen Raskauskas, Chicago

"My 2016 Sorli pedal clavicytherium, pedal board, bench and stand for supporting a manual harpsichord (in this case a pre-existing one by a different maker) were all custom fitted to suit my needs. My personal dimensions, the way the accidentals would be shaped and how they would relate to the naturals, the height and width of the bench, the dimensions and design of the stand all had to be taken into consideration. Steven did all of this to perfection. The pedal action is light and sensitive, the same as a harpsichord action, without springs to aid the return. The bench and stand are strong and beautifully made. The clavicytherium is clean-looking, slim and attractive, and its action works flawlessly and quietly. The sound of the main 8' is full, reedy, penetrating and never tiring to the ear. The second 8' can be added to it by a hand lever whenever the player desires. The clavicytherium has a back lid that can be kept closed, partly opened, or fully opened, as the player desires. There's a tuning keyboard in the rear of the clavicytherium at floor level just under the pin block. Having the pedal strings behind the player, instead of the more usual location under the manual harpsichord, gives an attractive spatial separation between the two instruments and helps make the pedal line that much more distinguishable from the manual sound."-Ed Parmentier

"I am so grateful to Mark Shuldiner for letting me borrow his gut-strung clavicytherium, and above all, to you Steven, for creating such an exquisite and responsive instrument. I have found my 'voice' in this instrument in a way that I haven't been able to before on any other harpsichord. Some of my favorite Bach pieces, like the BWV 998 and the e minor suite, BWV 996, finally make sense to me! It has truly been a joy to play and I will miss having it in my living room." -Jason Moy, Depaul University School of Music, Chicago

"In addition to having a beautiful design, Steven Sorli's new clavicytherium is poetry in motion. It has an expressive range from purely lyrical to aggressive, it sustains like a harp and plays runs like greased lightning. This instrument was the hit of the exhibition: I couldn't tear myself away from it--on the rare occasions when I could get my hands on it in the first place, that is!" -Beth Garfinkel, DM in harpsichord from Indiana University '07

"I am writing to tell you how much I continue to enjoy owning and playing my clavicytherium. It is a very popular instrument among my students and friends. Especially gratifying is the large variety of repertoire that "works" on the clavicytherium, which has changed the opinion of a few people who assumed that it would be appropriate only for limited repertoire. The instrument is versatile, expressive (depending on how it is played, of course), and easy to care for." -Ryan L. Whitney, Seattle, WA

"The clavicytherium is giving us all great pleasure. The tone is beautiful and the action provides perfect control. It makes me feel like I am playing a lute or guitar - but with the facility and compass that a keyboard can provide. Thank you for making such a wonderful instrument." -Karl Habermeir, Classical Guitarist, Rockville, MD

"Just a note to inform you that the instrument arrived safe and sound (and still in tune!) on Wednesday. The Clavicytherium looks really good and the tone is beautiful. Everyone who has heard or played the instrument is very happy with it." -Francis Biggi, Head of Early Music, Conservatoire Superieur de Musique de Geneve

"I never grow tired of playing on this lute-harpsichord. The sound is so pleasing that the time I spend practicing literally flies. It has cleaned up my playing considerably and has changed the way I hear music. Hitherto, with few exceptions, J. S. Bach harpsichord pieces were, to me, little more than finger exercises. My lautenwerck has caused me to hear more like a lutenist/guitarist. The subtle space between the notes has become as important as the notes themselves. Taking time to allow a phrase to bloom, to gracefully wane, and begin again, this is an aural lesson that only a fine instrument can teach. I am grateful to you for providing me with this patient teacher and an enthusiastic musical companion." -J. Mark Dunn, Staten Island, NY

"As an organizer of an early music vacation workshop and as a recording engineer, I have encountered enough of Steven Sorli's keyboard instruments to have a fair idea of what they're about. They are meticulously regulated and voiced. The fine architectonics and 17th and 18th century color schemes of these harpsichords and lautenwercke draw one's appraising eye in a most pleasing way. The latter lute-strung singles and doubles have a rich, fundamental presence that fully supports and enriches music involving strings and winds. The sound lends itself to vocal accompaniment, in part because the cues one perceives strongly resemble those of an archlute or theorbo." -Christopher Greenleaf, Rhode Island

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