The Harpsichord Diaries
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the making of The Harpsichord Diaries

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Andrea Love, Elaine Funaro & Eric Love

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How it began…

My favorite record as a little girl was Said the Piano to the Harpsichord. It began with a gentle narrator setting the scene: “Everyone had gone to bed. The house was dark. Down in the music room, an old harpsichord began to play. It was a sad piece.” But suddenly, a grand piano in the corner interrupts: “Say, can’t you play anything cheerful.” And he launches into a bombastic performance. They carry on a spirited argument, teasing each other and showing off their unique musical strengths. 

PIANO: What makes you sound so tinny?

HARPSICHORD: You’re like a big drum, bang bang bang!

I wasn’t allowed to turn the record over because my mother was afraid I was going to scratch it. So, I listened to this first half a lot. It wasn’t until I was older that I got to hear the conclusion.

PIANO: You know, I’ve often thought your old harpsichord music was less interesting than mine, but maybe that’s because I can’t do all those things with it.

HARPSICHORD: Well, I wish I could make accents as well as the piano. Let’s play something together.

The magic of those two musical instruments talking and playing together sparked my imagination. Young People’s Records released Said the Piano to the Harpsichord in 1948. This record lasted all of six and a half minutes, and launched a life-long musical career. It is no wonder that I am a harpsichordist married to a pianist; and that our twins, Eric and Andrea, are both extremely talented musicians and artists. I hope that The Harpsichord Diaries will inspire generations to come with the wonder and awe I felt all those years ago.


What it became…

I created a one-woman show called A Nod to the 90s. This theatrical concert featured historical stories paired with harpsichord music from over 400 years. Most people think of the harpsichord as an instrument whose repertoire ended in the 18th century with J.S. Bach. The piano’s popularity pushed the harpsichord into obscurity for over a century. I discovered a Rigadon, composed by Francis Thomé in 1892, one of very few pieces written for the harpsichord in the 19th century. This inspired me to use the decade of the 90s in each of five centuries to highlight the evolution of harpsichord music. As a musician who is passionate about contemporary repertoire, I wanted to demonstrate how the harpsichord has stayed relevant into the 20th — and now 21st — century. A Nod to the 90s was the genesis of the audio play, Elena’s Dream, that inspired the children’s book, The Harpsichord Diaries.


Inspiration for the Harpsichord Diaries 

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a timeline

1960  Elaine hears the record Said the Piano to the Harpsichord.

1968  Elaine studies the harpsichord at Interlochen summer music camp.

1970  Elaine enrolls in Oberlin Conservatory as a pianist.

1972  Elaine switches from piano to harpsichord while studying abroad at the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini in Florence, Italy. 

1976  Elaine purchases her very first instrument from the Dowd Shop, Thomas Taskin.

1979  Elaine marries pianist Randall Love.

1982  Elaine purchases her second harpsichord, Henrick Hammer, while studying in Amsterdam.

1987  Twins Eric and Andrea Love are born in Durham, North Carolina.

1990  Twins start listening to Classical Kids CDs.

2004  Elaine performs A Nod to the 90’s, a one-woman show featuring five centuries of harpsichord music.

2008  Elaine hires Eric to direct a remount of A Nod to the 90’s, sparking the idea to use music and stories from this  show to create an audio play in the style of Classical Kids and Said the Piano to the Harpsichord.

2009  Richard Kingston creates a modern harpsichord, Opus #333, also known as Kenneth King.

2009 Artist Lisa Creed paints Opus #333

2010  Virginia Virginal joins the Funaro harpsichord family for a trip to China.

2012  Elaine, Eric, and Andrea spend a week storyboarding the children’s book in Port Townsend, Washington.

2012  Elaine finishes 50 original haiku for the children’s book.

2012  Andrea completes 30 ink and watercolor illustrations.

2013  Eric finishes the script for The Harpsichord Diaries – An Audio Play, which sparks the idea to adapt the play into a children’s book. 

2015  Elaine holds a special recording session for the audio play featuring all four harpsichords in the Duke Chapel.

2015  Eric spends three days in a recording studio voicing 28 characters for the audio play and narrating the haiku for the children’s book.  

2015  Eric spends six months on the soundtracks, layering together harpsichord music, voice overs, and sound effects.

2016  The Harpsichord Diaries: A Musical Journey and The Harpsichord Diaries. . . An Audio Play are born with Lisa Creed doing the initial book layout and just a few stapled copies are produced at A Laser Image Printing in Durham.

2018/2019  After screening some of Andrea’s animation works at Horse & Buggy Press, Elaine meets Dave Wofford of Horse & Buggy Press who advances the book design and coordinates the production of the book you are now holding.