The 1st International Chopin Competition on period instruments The 1st International Chopin Competition on period instruments

The 1st International Chopin Competition on period instruments
Period pianos

Period pianos Period pianos

Erard [1838]
The instrument was made in Paris 1838. According to the Erard company’s records, it was first sold on 12 December 1838. Mr Forkel and Mr Vigvier of Bordeaux became its owners. The piano’s serial numbers 14214. Made of mahogany wood, the instrument has an ivory keyboard with 80 keys [CC - g4]. All parts are original and in excellent condition, except the felt pads and the strings, which were replaced in the Erard factory in 1922. The action, especially its repetition part, is typical of the period in which the instrument was made. The piano has a beautiful, rich tone and works perfectly well.


Erard Piano [1849]
This instrument was built in Paris in 1849. Marked with the serial number 21118, it is of identical construction to the instruments familiar to Fryderyk Chopin.
Its metal frame comprises a hitch pin-block [the strings are stretched between the hitch pin-block and the wrest pin-block] and six braces [counterbalancing the combined force of the taut strings, reaching up to 20 tonnes]. It is the predecessor of the cast-iron piano frame used today. The keyboard covers a total of 7 octaves, as in modern concert grand.
The original, historical substance of the instrument is preserved in its entirety, with the exception of the elements routinely changed with use. The instrument was restored using identical elements, made from the same raw materials and with the same technology, as in the mid-nineteenth century.
[The piano was a gift for the Fryderyk Chopin Institute from the Ryszard Krauze Foundation].


Erard [1858]
The instrument was built in Paris in 1858, marked with serial number 30315, rosewood veneered, inlaid with ormolu frames. It has an iron frame connected with screws, consisting of pinning table and six stress bars, a predecessor of the today’s full iron cast frame. Keyboard compass covers seven octaves (AA-a’’’’), like in modern instruments. The piano is equipped with a typical Erard’s hammer action, a prototype of the today generally used double repetition English action. It was a gift from the Grzegorz Mochnacki Warsaw Piano Workshop that totally renovated it in 2010.


Pleyel [1846]
The instrument was built in 1846 in Paris. It has 82 keys [CC – a4]. It was purchased by the Chopin Institute in 2005 from the collection of Chris Maene. The instrument is typical of Chopin’s times. Its original, historical substance is preserved virtually intact, with the original hammers and soundboard. It has a single English action.


Pleyel piano [c.1854]
Pleyel piano no. 20042 (c.1854), from the collection of Adam Zamoyski, straight-stringed, in a case of veneered palisander with rich bas-relief elements of classical decoration, English Pleyel action with single repetition, keyboard range of 6⅔ octaves from CC to a4, possessing una corda and damper pedals. It is almost identical to the ‘petit patron’ model D, that Chopin used 1845–1846 in his flat at 9 Place d’Orléans in Paris.
Until 2013 held at the Château du Lude on the Loire river in France, now in deposit at the Fryderyk Chopin Institute.


John Broadwood & Sons [c.1843]
A grand piano (serial no. 16000) made by a renowned English firm whose owners introduced many improvements to the construction of both upright and grand pianos.
Originally ordered from Broadwood by Georges Wildes of Manchester. Rosewood veneered, pie-crust model. Straight-strung, composite frame with six metal stress bars. English single repetition action with over dampers. Keyboard compass C2-f4, 6½ octaves; two pedals, una corda and dampers. According to company archives, twice repaired in 1855.
Fryderyk Chopin played on a similar instrument in a Gentlemen’s Concert held on 28 August 1848.
Fully restored, it has regained its original technical efficiency as a concert instrument. Purchased in 2014 by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, it now stands in the Birthplace of Fryderyk Chopin in Żelazowa Wola.


Pianoforte Graf [copy of an instrument from c. 1819]
A copy of the Schubertian instrument from c. 1819, made in Paul McNulti’s workshop in 2007. It was commissioned by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute. This type of piano was very popular in the early romantic era. Chopin probably composed some of his youthful pieces on a similar one. The instrument has the Viennese action with the so called single repetition. Unlike modern pianos, its hammers are covered with leather. Most of the strings are from iron wire, except the bass strings, made from brass. The instrument does not have any iron frame. It has four pedals – moderator, double moderator, sustaining and una corda - allowing to get a wide range of both dynamics and tone colours.


More info about The Fryderyk Chopin Institute Pianos Collection:

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