Details of the 20 Featured Pianos

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Matthew Herbert’s 20 Pianos

Matthew Herbert’s 20 Pianos A new piece for solo pianist, adapted MIDI table and recorded mappings of twenty pianos from around the world.

First performed by Sam Beste. 16 May 2014, The North Wall, presented by Oxford Contemporary Music. Technical Support by Hugh Jones, Accidental. MIDI Table built by Yann Seznec of the New Radiophonic Workshop. In the extended version of this project, additional material created,curated and performed by Sarah Nicolls. Commissioned by Third Ear, with funds from PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial. 20 Pianos is published by Soundslike Music / Bucks Music Group UK.

#1 A Brand New Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Steinway 2014 Stefan Schmahl Matthias Schneider Steinway Factory, Hamburg, Germany

“The company was founded in 1853 by the German cabinet maker Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg. He moved to New York with his family in 1850, where his instruments quickly became famous, and are now considered the first modern pianos. Our mission statement – ‘to build the best piano possible’ – still applies. This factory in Hamburg was founded in 1880 both because of the company’s success but also to deliver instruments to the European market. Our pianos are still only built in New York and Hamburg; in New York for the American market, and in Hamburg for the rest of the world, covering four continents: Europe; Africa; Asia; and Australasia. This piano is a concert grand. It has a length of 2m 74cm, so it’s the largest piano we build. It’s a professional instrument, for concert stages. It’s quite fresh. It’s here for sale, waiting for the future owner, which might be a pianist, a concert hall, an opera hall etc. About half of our customers are institutions, and half are private individuals. We have to dry down the wood naturally for two years, and the rest of the making takes a further year, so it takes three years in all until it’s ready. Spruce is used for the soundboard, maple and mahogany for the rim, and other sorts of wood for the pin blocks. There are 12,000 individual parts, and 30 basic processes involved in its making. Between 80 and 100 people are involved in the making of each instrument. Among piano players the Steinway name is a holy thing. If you really want to know more about the history you have to read the books.” Sabine Höpermann, Communications Manager, Steinway & Sons, Hamburg

#2 A Church Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Nathaniel Berry & Sons Unknown Alex Groves, Spitalfields Music Katee Woods, Spitalfields Music St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch, London

“The story of our piano begins in the Second World War. Shoreditch, as one of the London Boroughs, was the most heavily bombed borough in the whole nation. This was simply because enemy bombers were intent on bombing the docks and the river Thames, which is slightly to the east of us. And because they could only see the Thames if there was moonlight reflecting off it, and as they couldn’t see any other lights as we had blackouts, if there wasn’t much moon then they couldn’t see very much. So they would hopefully fly up the River Thames with their airplanes full of bombs, and when they realised they had gone too far, they didn’t have enough fuel to carry the weights of bombs back to where they’d started, so they just pressed the button and dropped the lot. And Shoreditch is next in line. So although there was no strategic target in Shoreditch to be destroyed, nevertheless Shoreditch was destroyed. There are hardly any buildings left that have no memories of the war, which have no damage. Our church itself, which has a tower 192 feet high, has great lumps of shrapnel embedded in the stonework, thrown there by the explosion of bombs.

Because it was getting very dangerous to have normal church we decided we’d have our church worship down in the crypt underneath, which served as an air-raid shelter for hundreds of people. So we had a little chapel, and an old lady in the congregation donated her piano. And so the piano was taken into the crypt, into the chapel, and there, during those dark difficult times of life, there it would play the hymns and the people of Shoreditch would sing. This went on until October 1944 when a massive flying bomb just missed landing on the church and dropped just on the south of it, on Cleve House in Calvert Avenue. A third of that huge building was demolished, and all the windows in the church and the ceiling collapsed and the church was ruined, and it came to a sad finish. The church was abandoned for several years; it was structurally unsafe... The place seemed to be, perhaps, finished after its many centuries of life. The war ended, the church got put back together again and by the end of 1947 it was decided it was safe enough to come back in. People came back in, war over, and the chapel in the crypt was abandoned. No-one went down there for a very long time, not until the 1960s, when a scout troupe used it as their headquarters. The piano went into disarray, out of tune, bits of strings, cracking, breaking, wood warping… It’s basically a huge wreck. But it sits there, down in that old chapel. And it’s a piece of memory, a memory of the times when literally hell was breaking loose all around, people were dying, buildings destroyed and homes ravaged, and yet somehow, in the midst of all this, the people of Shoreditch worshipped their God.” Revd. Paul Turp, St Leonard’s Church

#3 A Piano from a Victorian Cult Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

John Broadwood & Sons Ltd 1845 Vanessa Ainsworth, Producer to Matthew Herbert Vanessa Ainsworth, Producer to Matthew Herbert Finchcocks Musical Museum, Kent

“This is a concert grand model from 1845. It’s not typical Broadwood because it has a very gaudy, elaborate case, made from a very rare, tropical timber, decorated with limewood, carved and then gilt. It was made for a vicar in the West Country called Henry Prince, who was something of a rogue. He ran a harem in a place called New Charlinch in Somerset, where he had an escort of something like 60 women ‘disciples’. He obviously was not only a charismatic person, but also a kind of guru in this harem and the women worshipped him. Very eccentric. This particular piano was in the chapel. I suspect it was paid for by this vast consort of late Victorian ladies.” Alistair Lawrence, John Broadwood & Sons Ltd / Finchcocks Musical Museum

#4 The Most Expensive Piano in the World Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Steinway 1970 Mark Arden and Frances Prescott Mark Arden and Frances Prescott Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona

“John Lennon bought this brown upright at the Steinway’s store in London in December 1970 and had it delivered to his home in Berkshire. In 1971, he composed and recorded Imagine on it, and was filmed playing the song on it for the first time to wife Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono band. In 1992, the instrument was bought by a private British collector until it was put up for auction in October 2000. Singer George Michael bought the Steinway for £1.67 million, reportedly outbidding other stars including Robbie Williams and Liam and Noel Gallagher. After another stint in the Beatles Museum in Liverpool, the instrument went on tour in the US in 2007. Relating to ‘Imagine’, the instrument was sent as a symbol of peace to the locations of some of America’s most notorious acts of violence including: Dealy Plaza, site of President Kennedy’s assassination; Waco, Texas, where 80 members of a religious sect died in a standoff with federal officers; the Memphis site of Martin Luther King’s killing; and Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Members of the public were able to play the piano as part of the “Imagine Piano Peace Project” tour; some just ran their fingers over the cigarettes burns left on the instrument by John Lennon. The piano is currently on display in the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. When we came to record it on location in Phoenix however, only a handful of notes still worked.” Julia Haferkorn, Third Ear

#5 Johann Christian Bach’s Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location

Johannes Zumpe and Gabriel Buntebart, London 1777-1778 Hugh Jones, Accidental Records Cobbe Collection Cobbe Collection, near Guildford, Surrey With thanks to Alison Hoskyns & Alec Cobbe

“Johann Christian Bach signed his name on the sound board of the piano, almost certainly when he chose it in the maker’s workshop. The instrument was taken by the composer to France when he went there to stay with the Duke of Noailles at St Germain-en-Laye in 1778. Mozart joined the house party in August and almost certainly performed his recently composed Piano Sonata in a-minor, K310, on this instrument. The instrument survived into the 20th century with the family in the vicinity.” Alison Hoskyns, Cobbe Collection

#6 A Prison Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Unknown Unknown Hugh Jones, Accidental Wormwood Scrubs Prison, London Wormwood Scrubs Prison, London With thanks to Helen Baly, Roman Catholic Chaplain, Wormwood Scrubs Prison

“Ivor Novello was sentenced to two months (later reduced to one) in prison in 1944 for misuse of wartime petrol coupons. Whilst in Wormwood Scrubs, where he carried out his sentence, he ran the prison choir. After he was let out he donated a piano, which is still in use in the Church of England chapel inside the prison. Novello actively persuaded musicians to go and perform to the inmates of the prison but never went back there himself.� Hugh Jones, Accidental

#7 A School Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Danemann Early 1980s Hugh Jones, Accidental Hugh Jones, Accidental Morpeth School, London

“I started working here 20 years ago, in January 1994. When I arrived we had one small music room and some instruments, well the remains of instruments, and they were beyond repair. We had a tuba and the local pub bought it off us and I think they used it as a pot plant holder; it couldn’t be repaired. We had five Danemann pianos, which I think were bought in the eighties. Three of them were playable, two weren’t playable. Over a period of 20 years various things happened. We had a fire below the music department; we were on the top floor. This piano survived that fire. One of the pianos didn’t survive it because it was torched.

We moved three times in the 20 years – from that building which was demolished – to the ground floor of another building, and into another building, which was demolished three years ago. In the foundations of that building, the four other Danemann pianos were thrown, so they are now buried, part of the plot. This piano survived all of those atrocities. This piano is also a bit of a hybrid, simply because we took parts of the other pianos. This piano is Frankenstein. It’s been rebuilt and put together. It has seen a lot of action. We’ve had some pretty incredible musicians pass through our doors including Wynton Marsalis, who would use it in 1998/99. We did a workshop with the London Jazz Orchestra. We also used it for other gigs… we had Christian Scott from New Orleans, so over the years it’s seen quite a lot of action, it’s been played quite a bit. Now it’s slightly redundant because we have moved to a brand new building and we were given some brand new uprights and some clavinovas. So this piano has been safely tucked away and shall be treasured. They were strong pianos. It has survived being in a city school, it would have taken a bit of a beating over the last 20 years from the kids. They are well made, they were pretty much the standard pianos in most schools at that time, but this is the last remaining one we have, the survivor.” Peter Rohmany, Head of Music, Morpeth School

#8 A Piano belonging to the Radford Sisters Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Steinway Early 20th century Amber-Zoe Cheesman, Falmouth University Amber-Zoe Cheesman, Falmouth University Radford Trust, St Anthony, Cornwall

“The piano, as far as I know, was first put in this room in 1912, when Maisie and Evelyn Radford moved here from Devon. They originally had three pianos in the studio, but this is the only one left. It’s not in its best shape, but it has had plenty of playing in its day. My memory of it is of Christmas, when my uncle would come down, my father would play whilst singing at the piano. I’ve bashed through plenty of old standards on it. It’s been abused in its time by me, probably, but it’s also had some very fine players.

Evelyn Radford was the pianist of the two sisters, who were very well known in Cornwall where they set up a charity to help young musicians, which still runs. Her sister Maisie was a violinist. They set up the Falmouth Opera Group and produced the first performances of Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’ and ‘Clemenza di Tito’ in English, translating the librettos themselves. They gathered together singers from St Mawes and Falmouth, and put on performances in the Princes Pavilion, Falmouth or the Polytechnic. They were well known in London, too; Sir Adrian Boult thought very highly of them. Maisie also became a bard and composed music and poetry herself. So they would have sat in the studio working out their translations of the operas, on their productions and making music together. It’s slightly battered now. It’s in a wooden barn that doesn’t get heated so it suffers a bit. The last time it was played was three years ago in a concert that we put on for all the beneficiaries of the instrument loan scheme that the Radford Trust still runs – the money that Evelyn and Maisie left has allowed us to lend instruments to promising young musicians in the county, and we had a piece composed for anyone who could play it. I’m afraid it hasn’t been tuned since then; it could do with a tuning. It’s surrounded by shelves of music – all the Radford scores and things. Everything’s grown around it almost. As I say, it’s been here since 1912. It must have been the first thing in.”

Emma Campbell, Radford Trust

#9 An Orphaned Piano of Unknown Provenance Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Unknown Unknown Vanessa Ainsworth, Producer to Matthew Herbert Vanessa Ainsworth, Producer to Matthew Herbert J Reid Pianos, Tottenham, London Courtesy of John & Susan Gregory

“We don’t know the history of this piano, only that it came from a house in Stamford Hill. I think they were doing some renovations.” John Gregory, J Reid Pianos

#10 A Family Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Bechstein Unknown Tim Hand, Oxford Contemporary Music Tim Hand, Oxford Contemporary Music Oxford Courtesy of Will May, Oxford

“The piano was my grandfather’s, and his wife left it to my mother, who passed it to me. My grandfather came from Germany via Amsterdam – where he met my grandmother – to the UK in 1936 with the piano, where it stayed in his house in Golders Green, London. As a Jew, he had to leave Germany and my grandmother had been asked to join the Nazi Party, as she was a social worker, so they emigrated. He was an excellent pianist, and almost became a silent film star but his father prevented that and pushed him towards accountancy – though he always said he kept music ‘in the Sunday corner of his heart’. When my grandfather died, my grandmother passed it on to my mother, so it was there in Somerset when I was growing up. It was the centre of the family in our music making, writing songs on it, accompanying violin and so on. And now my mother is downsizing, it’s come to me. Music’s important in my life and I’ve thought about taking it on professionally, though like my grandfather I think there are other ways I can pursue it – though I’m not doing accountancy. Jane Siberry, the singer-songwriter, played on it as part of a ‘microtour’ she made, which was special. I’m getting married this year, and I want to write some music for it using the piano, so it will continue to be an important part of my life.” Will May, owner

#11 Edward Elgar’s Square Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

John Broadwood and Sons, London 1844 Hugh Jones, Accidental Cobbe Collection Cobbe Collection, near Guildford, Surrey (on permanent loan from the Royal Academy of Music) With thanks to Alison Hoskyns & Alec Cobbe

“By 1867 this instrument was in the possession of Edward Elgar’s father and uncle, who together ran a piano business in Worcester. Elgar chose it from his father’s stock for his cottage near Malvern, and he inscribed on the soundboard names of some of the works he composed on it.” Alison Hoskyns, Cobbe Collection

#12 Southbank Centre Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Steinway 1982 Hugh Jones, Accidental Hugh Jones, Accidental Southbank Centre, London

“This piano has been played by many legendary pianists of the 20th century, so Shura Cherkassky, Alicia Dela Rosha, Lazar Berman, John Ogden, everybody. Kissin has played it many times and still requests this piano. It was chosen by British pianist Philip Fowke, who was a big name on the scene at that time. It’s on umpteen recordings on many labels, Stephen Kovacevich recorded the complete Beethovan sonatas on it in Abbey Road for EMI. Currently, it’s Pierre-Laurant Aimard’s favourite instrument at Southbank Centre and he is very excited about taking it to Snape for the Aldeburgh Festival in June this year. The sound is very powerful but not harsh, it’s got beauty as well. A lot of pianos can be brittle, but this one has got warmth. It’s 32 years old and we have just invested a lot of money into restoring it for the third time in its life. You can’t get pianos like this anymore. This is unique. In those days Steinway made them in a different way, they would each have their own special sound. Now the soundboard is fitted by computer, then it was made by craftsmen. Ten pianos and they all had different sounds, whereas now they appear to sound the same. It even has its original ivory keyboard before the international ivory ban came into force.” Eddy Smith, Technical Director; and Peter Salisbury and John Heard, Piano Technicians, Southbank Centre

#13 A Ship’s Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location

Lister & Sons 19th Century Tom Dalzell and Christopher Barr Tom Dalzell and Christopher Barr, Glasgow Concert Halls Glasgow Museums, Mary Hill, Glasgow

“This is a miniature piano donated to Glasgow Museums by the Trustees of the Sir Thomas Lipton Memorial Hospital. Sir Thomas Lipton of Glasgow was an ambitious man. By the 1890s, having built up his grocery empire (from the grocery shop his Irish parents set up in Glasgow’s east end), he was on the lookout for a bigger challenge. He looked to America and in particular the America’s Cup – the ultimate yacht-racing trophy. Lipton commissioned a yacht – the Shamrock – and in 1899 he and his crew sailed to New York to compete. This piano is said to have been used on the first Shamrock. Lipton entered the Americas Cup yacht race five times, but never won. The publicity he got from this was very positive and was great marketing for his grocery business. He was a master of publicity and spin. His carefully controlled public image won him many admirers. He even drank tea – his own brand – with the US president, Theodore Roosevelt.” Glasgow Museums

#14 A Herbert Family Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Kessels Purchased second hand in 1948 for £65 Matthew Herbert Matthew Herbert Tenby, Wales

“This was my grandfather’s piano. As well as being an artist, he was also an organist and regularly played at the local methodist church. He had a special set of wooden pedals made to fit the piano so that he could practise the pedal parts at home and we loved it as kids being able to play the piano with your feet. He used to own a special pair of black patent shoes with smooth soles to be able to move his feet more easily across the pedals.” Matthew Herbert / Rob Davis

#15 Rachmaninov’s Tour Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Steinway 1930 Dan Thomason, Wiltshire Music Centre Simone Homes, Events Manager, Holburne Museum Holburne Museum, Bath

“We’re pleased to hear that you’re still very interested in the purchase of a Steinway concert grand. And it is only the fear of queues at Paddington – which are certainly pretty bad – which has so far prevented you from coming to London to inspect our concert grand stock. We know that you have emphasised that what you want is a new – or nearly new – instrument, and needless to say in the six years of the War an absolutely new instrument is unobtainable, and as far as we know may continue to be so for some considerable time. The instrument, which you actually saw, was a Steinway Model D grand. We are of the opinion that this is the finest concert grand we have in our possession at the present time, and it was personally selected by Rachmaninov when it was a new piano 14 years ago, and kept exclusively for his use. We had at one time decided not to sell this piano but to keep it for international artists, who might be concertising after the War, such as Hoffman, Horowitz.” Letter from Steinway to Eric Hodges, 6 September 1944 “Our Steinway grand piano was given to the University of Bath in 1977. It’s been on display at the Holburne Museum ever since. It was first lent to the University in 1974 by Mrs Valerie Hodges, the widow of Eric Hodges, a well-known pianist in Bristol. The piano was once selected by Rachmaninov for his own use whilst on tour in London and the UK. It was kept by the makers, Steinway and Sons, in their premises off Conduit St. In 1944 Eric Hodges saw and purchased the instrument. I met Mrs Hodges at a lunchtime concert at the Museum. She told me her husband heard Rachmaninov play the Steinway in Bristol. Rachmaninov performed in Bristol in 1929, 1931, 1936 and 1938. He also appeared in Bath in 1934.” Simone Homes, Events Manager, Holburne Museum

#16 The Queen Mother’s Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Marshall & Rose 1929 Hugh Jones, Accidental Hugh Jones, Accidental St James’ Palace, London

“A Marshal & Rose Baby Grand Piano at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal is housed in the Chapel Royal Song Room. The serial number (29228) displayed on its frame indicates it was manufactured in the 1920-1930 sequence from 2920039600. Stamped in relief on its frame are the Arms of the Queen Dowager, Queen Alexandra, who died in 1925. She was a most proficient pianist, and there are extant photographs of her playing Grand Pianos at Copenhagen in 1883 along with her mother Queen Louise, and her sisters, the Empress of Russia and the Duchess of Cumberland. The piano spent time at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland, being purchased by the Holyrood Amenity Trust which was founded in 1925, and with tuners supplied by Wilson & Son of Edinburgh ‘By Appointment to His Majesty the King, harpsichord and Piano Tuners’. The Song Room is part of a suite of rooms across the 1531 Great Gatehouse of St James’s Palace at that level, adjacent to the Chapel Royal, and which housed King Charles I from the 19th January until his execution on 30th January 1648 (old style). This suite was later occupied by Henry Purcell when playing the organ in the Chapel Royal between 1690 and 1695. The Song Room occupies the Western room of this suite and is still used frequently to rehearse the Gentlemen and Children of the Chapel Royal. In April 2014 this Marshall & Rose Baby Grand Piano was hoisted through the window by mechanical winch from the street as a tight spiral staircase, the only other means of entry, proved impossible to employ for that purpose. Alistair Lawrence was commissioned to produce a condition report and tune the Marshal & Rose Baby Grand following its installation in the Song Room.” David Baldwin, Serjeant of the Vestry, Chapels Royal and The Reverend Prebendary William Scott, Sub-Dean, H.M. Chapels Royal

#17 Piano loaned to Queen Victoria Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

John Broadwood & Sons Ltd 1858 Vanessa Ainsworth, Producer to Matthew Herbert Vanessa Ainsworth, Producer to Matthew Herbert Finchcocks Musical Museum, Kent

“This is a heavy-looking typical Victorian square piano, and it’s in a very plain, sombre, rosewood case, made in 1858. It was hired to Buckingham Palace to Queen Victoria from 1867 to her death in 1901, so she had it for 34 years on hire, free. And it was in Albert’s bedroom. “Albert had one just like this, and in his dying hours one of his daughters played for him. After Albert’s death, Victoria wanted to re-create the death scene. We provided her with this one, that was exactly the same model. After her death it came back to us, and we’ve had it ever since, though it was sent out occasionally as a kind of promotional thing, for a time displayed in Harrods, in 1932, the British Empire exhibition in 1924, and Selfridges in 1925.” Alistair Lawrence, John Broadwood & Sons Ltd / Finchcocks Musical Museum

#18 The oldest square piano in the UK Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Johannes Zumpe 1769 Vanessa Ainsworth, Producer to Matthew Herbert Vanessa Ainsworth, Producer to Matthew Herbert Finchcocks Musical Museum, Kent

“This dates from 1769, mahogany case, square piano, the earliest kind, very simple, very neat. Very cheaply made by Johannes Zumpe, a German who settled in London around 1765, and he more or less invented the square piano as we know it. Very, very primitive sound. Really like a little jangle box. It’s like a big guitar in a way. It’s probably the earliest piano in this country in working order. It’s very much a relic. It doesn’t have pedals like modern pianos, it has hand stops, which do various things like a pizzicato sound, or with the dampers raised, like a lute (it’s called a lute stop). This man was a genius in two ways – for inventing this instrument, but he also made a lot of money building houses in London, rows of houses, Charlotte Street. When he went back to Germany, the choir sang for him at his local church and he was moved to tears. And he left all his money to orphanages in Germany.” Alistair Lawrence, John Broadwood & Sons Ltd / Finchcocks Musical Museum

#19 Gustav Mahler’s Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Conrad Graf, Vienna ca. 1836 Hugh Jones, Accidental Cobbe Collection Cobbe Collection, near Guildford, Surrey With thanks to Alison Hoskyns & Alec Cobbe

“Despite his successful career, Gustav Mahler was not well off until his marriage to Alma Schindler in 1902. Therefore it is not surprising that, in the 1880s, he owned a piano, which at the time would have been considered very second hand. Alec Cobbe bought this instrument in 1993 from Mahler’s granddaughter Marina.” Alison Hoskyns, Cobbe Collection

#20 Ferd. Thürmer Piano Make: Built in: Sound documentation: Photo: Location:

Thürmer 1860s André Schallenberg, Tillmann Wiegand and Petra Huppert, Ruhrtriennale Festival André Schallenberg and Tillmann Wiegand Bochum, Germany

“My name is Jan Thürmer, I am the owner of the company Ferd. Thürmer, which was founded on 1 April 1834 in Meißen on the Elbe. The Founder was my Great Great Grandfather, Ernst Wilhelm Ferdinand Thürmer, after whom the company was named. His son, Gustav Adolf Ferdinand Thürmer, learnt the trade from his father. The instrument in front of us is a straight-sided grand piano, 180 cm in length. The body is made of rosewood and it has iron plate braces and an iron plate shoe, which is typical of the mid-1860s. This instrument was made by the son of the founder, in the years after the death of his father. The son built up the company, which employed up to 180 employees under his leadership, but at the time he made this instrument, there were maybe 10 to 12 staff, who were his companions in the workshop. We were offered the instrument around 1980. The owner had painted it white so that the beautiful rosewood could only be seen on the inside. He didn’t dare touch the inside of the body or the lid. The original legs and feet had been removed. Instead he had used three round, iron plates as support, with each foot leading up to three iron poles. It looked very futuristic, but was not in line with the remaining old instrument. We removed the feet and instead installed the feet of another instrument from the 1860s, thereby restoring the piano to its original state. This piano is definitely very good for historical, authentic music-making, for the music of the era of the Romantics, Schumann especially, and all following on in the nineteenth century. I think instruments like this here are very interesting if you want to know how instruments sounded in the 1860s, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a must to go back to it. For us, as piano builders, this instrument is a piece of testimony, which shows how the piano has developed and that we – everybody, who has worked in our company – have played an active part in this development over almost 200 years.” Jan Thürmer, Ferd. Thürmer

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