Curator: Markus Brosig
Leipzig has one of the worlds best in-tact collections of original Bartolomeo Cristofori keyboard instruments.
The comparison of condition between the instrument at The Academia in Florence and the one in Leipzig.This is not a commentary on how recent or even past conservation methods have been used but how two instruments from the same maker (Cristofori oval spinet 1693) have endured the ravages of time and neglect.
Florence instrument above, Leipzig below
This collection is not only important for the extensive collection of original Cristofori’s, but the condition they are in.
Bartolomeo Cristofori was an Italian maker of musical instruments famous for inventing the piano.
Considering- over the last 100 years, two worlds wars, then post second world war Leipzig was in the eastern area of Germany under Soviet control. My question was- how did they survive to be in such remarkable condition? (Many didn’t)
The issue was more than how they survived the history of direct conflict in this area but how did the instruments survive the Soviet era.
“Informed passion” Men and Women who recognised the significant value and importance of these instruments and through personal intervention to rescue and or preserve, by aiming for conservation not restoration as their goal, ie: possible lack of informed skills, incorrect methods or restrictive equipment or budget may have ruined or destroyed important information. Thanks to these wise and passionate people operating in this era, we can observe and investigate information still held by these instruments.
One of only 2 original Cristofori’s of this type left in the world
Technician Anne Jacobsen, Curator Marcus Brosig
Careful and meticulous cleaning ensuring that little or no original material is removed during cleaning of this keyboard
To better understand the ongoing care and maintenance of early keyboard instruments, I had the opportunity to spend more time with one of the worlds most respected makers of early pianos in his factory, to assist and observe how instruments are built. Perth already has several of Paul’s instruments with more coming. These include copies of 3 Walters, Stein and soon a Graff
A trio of Walters ready for selection at Paul McNulty’s
Paul preparing a Playel copy
Rarely seen outside a Atelier or factory: soundboard has been removed with a new replacement soundboard and bridges
Careful measures, observation, comparison are made of original parts, this combined with decades of experience and cultural understanding ensures as faithful as can be copy can be produced
Tradition materials and equipment where possible to replicate similar methods originally used such as this go bar bench to glue down the replacement pin block
I have visited the Keyboard collection in the Kunsthistorishes Museum in Vienna several times as a tourist, this time, thanks to the Churchill fellowship I received a personal private tour by one the worlds most respected technicians and curators Dr Alfons Huber.
Dr Huber is regarded as one of the worlds finest restoration experts in historically correct repair and conservation practices, including a PhD on environmental methods to preserve these priceless instruments
By using the vents from the cellar Dr Huber has demonstrated that more environmentally efficient maethods can be used to preserve instruments and keep the temperature/humidity stable without artificial expensive machines and conditioning.
This instrument has intrigued me for years, this time I get a personal instruction of it’s purpose and history.
The harmony piano offers a meantone tuning system the allows all major and minor 3rds to be in tune.
To preserve original information rather than rebuild or repair a copy can be made such as here
This instrument has a secret history,
Damaged wrest plank on this Erard once owned by Liszt, careful consideration will be applied before any work if any will be done.
The Klavier Atelier and collection of Mag. Gert Hecher.
Through out this, research journey Ive had the opportunity to meet some of Europes finest senior curators, restorers and technicians.
It has been very encouraging to also meet some remarkable young technicians including the technician Maks Stok from the workshop of Gert Hecher.
With original materials especially rare, exotic or now banned products like ivory, it is important to salvage as much as possible of redundant instruments to re-cycle to use in restoration or building
Collection of Gert Hecher
This Franz Bayer fortepiano has endured two major reconstructions. Fashion or space had this piano reduced in size at great expense. Here again it has been returned to original length with a remarkable level of skill and expertise, craftsmanship
Maks beautiful cabinetry and polishing skills
The link to the article in the Westweekend magazine.
This project has been hugely well recieved through out Europe, with all looking forward to future important collaborations to ensure the correct practices in conservation , preservation, restoration and viewing.
Three examples of keyboard journeys.
One of the worlds finest and equipped museums, with resources to investigate, research and restore priceless artifacts, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam represents an example of informed and considered approaches to conservation and restoration
This priceless 1640 Ruckers harpsichord has been in the same family in Germany from its beginning and now on loan to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Careful and considered investigation into the preservation of this instrument that is mainly in original condition, is crucial for a number of reasons. This instrument was used extensively by possibly the greatest harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt for recordings. Antwerp had two famous sons,Ruckers, regarded as the Stradivarius of harpsichord builders and the workshop of the artist Rubens.Here, we see the owner in discussion with conservation and art experts.
This 1808 Erard piano is in original and playable condition. Commissioned by King Louis Napoleon
Ruckers Virginal 1640 in original condition, will be carefully investigated as a phd project for research and conservation.
Mr Georg Senn has been responsible for a life time of careful preparation, restoration and maintaining instruments at the Schola Cantorum. Now with his own piano salon to display and play a collection of historical keyboard instruments.
Georg Senn and his Salon Des Pianos
Chris Maene: music retailer, Instrument builder , rebuilder and collector.
Anything and everything I could want to see on this research tour is all here.
The Maene families involvement in re building and manufacturing pianos now stretches into 3 generations.
Retailing new pianos including Steinway and along with a collection of 300 historical keyboard instruments has allowed Chris to develop his straight strung piano. Considering a large percentage of repertoire was composed on straight strung pianos like Erard, Pleyel etc, Chris has combined tradition with innovation to create this sublimely beautiful instrument.
2 of the models available, with more models to come
maker of fortepianos
line up of a beautiful sellection of historical instruments, all playable
The copy of Steinway no:1
display of harpsichord and fortepianos for sale all manufactured by the Chris Maene factory
All these instruments were masterfully demonstrated by Koenraad Verstichel. Able to move from fortepiano to harpsichord with suitable repertoire and skill
Stradivarius is famous for stringed instruments as Ruckers is for harpsichords.
This Ruckers -1608 was owned by Queen Christina of Sweden.
Fashions come and go, this instrument started life as a harpsichord, then at great expense and trouble it was converted to a piano until 1928 and then returned back into a harpsichord.
Here you can download a virtual display of St Cecilia’s collection
A day at Lotherton Hall near Leads with two Erard grand pianos, Circa 1865 & 1867. Cabinets were built by Marsh & Jones in Leeds using Satinwood, Amboyna, Purplewood, Boxwood and Walnut.In addition to inspecting the instrument Geoffrey Lancaster and I had the opportunity to hear them masterfully performed by Andrew Snedden.
Harp also by Erard
The Australia Chapel is in St Nicholas Church, Bathampton, Resting place of
Captain Arthur Phillip who landed in Australia in January 1788 with the first fleet and the Frederick Beck square piano.
The first fleet piano at the Western Australlian Academy of Performing Arts
Johann Schantz circa 1795
This instrument is one of only four instruments from Schantz to survive, the maker was favored by Hayden.
Extensively restored by Edwin Beunk 2005
Here is an example of what environmental conditions can do to crack soundboards.
Also what impact fluid spills can do to damage keyboard instruments
Here is an example of the damage wood worm can do to keyboard instruments.
A week with the remarkable square piano expert Lucy Coad.
Lucy will take charge of the Beck square piano for restoration (the first fleet piano)
A traditionally equipped workshop with character and a view that permeates into the quality and diligent artistry that goes into all the instruments that Lucy restores.
Meeting with the curator of the Royal Academy of Music Gabrielle Gale and view the collection of historical instruments.
It turns out we played in the same combined concert band while Gabe at Perth modern and myself at Churchlands both on music scholarships back in 19..
A remarkable day at Buckingham Palace with David Wheeler and David Winston discussing historical conservation of keyboard instruments.
David Winston from Period Piano Company is responsible for important restorations including Queen Victoria’s Erard and Beethoven’s 1817 Broadwood Grand Piano to name just a few.
David Wheeler, Senior Furniture and Porcelain Conservator with Royal Collection Trust,
Pictures will come after approval, but in the meantime follow the links to the beautiful Erard and other instruments in the Royal collection
What is the cream of the remaining instruments from the Finchcock collection is now at a new location in Royal Tunbridge Wells.
Richard and Katrina Burnett has continued their great work to make this collection of instruments even more assessable
The passionate and skilled artisan Ben Marks is charged with the oversight as a technician to maintain this prized and valuable collection of historical keyboard instruments.
The house and instruments are available for study, concerts, courses and recordings
This Virginal was was commissioned in 1965 and owned by the genius harpsichord maestro Gustav Leonhardt.
The meticulous artistry of a long historical tradition to faithfully replicate these beautiful harpsichords by Bruce Kennedy in his Tuscan Workshop.
Bruce Kennedy Harpsichords, Castelmuzio.
One of the world most respected harpsichord builders.
With a workshop in a remote yet a beautiful picturesque area of Tuscany. A workshop of sweeping views of the valley to Montisi where Bruce Kennedy established the Piccola Accademia to inspire harpsichordist worldwide through masterclasses and performances.
Valuable conection to resource information and contacts in regard to conservation techniques and methods of sourcing or replicating materials no longer made.
Meeting with Donatella Degiampietro from Laboratoria Restauro Fortepiano in Florence.
This workshop of skilled women specialises in restoration of historical keyboard instruments with great care, considered thought and dilligence.
Insightful discussions regarding the direction a restoration should take to maintain historical character and integrity.
This worshop is attached to the
ACCADEMIA BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI
The premise of my research is to understand the importance of the options technicians have when approaching historical keyboard instruments.
To preserve & conserve, repair, restore, or replicate.
This instrument is an example of Cristofori’s earliest surviving spinet from 1690.
The temptation over the years would be to restore this but wisely preserving this work means information can be observed regarding manufacturing techniques and materials.
Remarkable detail on the ivory keyboard on the Cristofori harpsichord,
Two of the rarest keyboard instruments.
On right Ebony harpsichord: Florence circa 1700
Bartolomeo Cristofori maker.
Case in rare ebony, soundboard in cypress, keyboard in ebony and ivory
Instrument on left
Possibly the first upright pianoforte by a student of Cristofori. Domenico del Mela circa 1739Case in cypress,soundboard in cedar, keyboard in boxwood
Possibly first upright by a student of Cristofori
Original Cristofori foreground and copy behind.
The craft of a concert technician, calmly & diligently preparing the instrument just minutes before a performance, allowing the the artist to perform as good as they can be, rather than as good as they could of been.
This Italian harpsichord copy by Bruce Kennedy tuned to mean tone
Bruges early music competition.
the outrageous tuning system of the Playel harpsichord in the Bruges Concertgebouw
information scroll down
The technician responsible for preparation of the harpsichords for International Competition Musica Antiqua at the Concertgebouw Brugge
Beautiful,beautiful Bruges a completely inspirational city to present the historical and serine backdrop for the International Competition Musica Antiqua for harpsichord. Here 3 Bruce Kennedy instruments expertly prepared and presented for the opening day of trials.
2 days of acclimatising and shaking of jet lag by walking around the wonder of Bruges.Looking forward to joining Prof Geoffrey Lancaster AM tomorrow and sharing his experiences of winning the the 23rd Festival of Flanders International Mozart Fortepiano Competition here in Bruges back in 1986.
The International Competition Musica Antiqua international competition for harpsichord begins tomorrow.
follow through this link
Beautiful Bruges. Day 1, walking around taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the Venice of the North. Having been to Venice a dozen times, my first impression of Bruges is just stunningly beautiful being easier to navigate bikes, cars, horses than the cramped walking traffic of Venice.
And my journey starts. 20 years ago I met this amazingly inspirational man, Prof Geoffrey Lancaster AM who has been the fundamental reason why I’m on this Churchill Fellowship, along with the endless support from my amazing wife Sarah, I now begin my epic 2 month grand tour throughout Europe researching historical keyboard instruments. Be sure to look up this blog each day as there will some incredible surprises.
My beautiful granddaughter playing Eileen Joyce‘s Clavichord at Keys in the City a journey of keyboard instruments.
The clavichord is the oldest of the stringed keyboard instruments dating from the late 14th century.
Goff Clavichord by Thomas Goff, UK, 1950
The case work of this instrument is exquisitely decorated in gold leaf by Goff, with a scene on the underside of the lid painted by British artist Rolan Pym.
Eileen Joyce presented this instrument, along with an antique French music chair, to the people of Western Australia to mark the state’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
Perth is now home to some rare and significant historical keyboard instruments.
In the picture on left, The First Fleet Piano by Frederick Beck 1786
This mahogany ‘square piano’
is arguably the most historically important piano in Australia. As the first piano to arrive on Australian soil as part of the First Fleet in 1788, it holds a unique place in the cultural heritage of our country.
Instrument on far right: Bent Side Spinet by Furley Hawkins 1736
This bentside spinet is a priceless treasure, being the only extant instrument made by the English maker Furley Hawkins in the world.
Other instruments in this picture : harpsichord by Bruce Kennedy, Fortepiano by Paul McNulty, modern concert grand by Fazioli & Steinway
details of other rare instruments held in the collection by The Western Australian Academy of Performing arts can be downloaded on my site as a PDF
before researching the history of historical instruments by looking back, it’s important to to look forward to the future and the next generation of keyboard enthusiasts.
Keys in the City 2018 introducing the journey of early keyboard instruments,
Clavichord, Harpsichord, Square piano and Fortepiano
Paul Tunzi: Churchill Fellowship July -October 2018
Investigate advanced conservation techniques and the maintenance of historical keyboard instruments.
Developing knowledge and understanding to preserve the integrity of the culturally-and internationally-significant historical stringed keyboard instrument collections in Western Australia’s universities and private collections.
Researching advanced contemporary conservation and maintenance methods to preserve the structural and sonic integrity of the instruments for future performance and research.
Training from world-leading experts to develop skills in the conservation, preservation and maintenance of historical stringed keyboard instruments.Establishing relationships with international experts to assist in the identification of historical keyboard instruments to preserve, restore or replicate.