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In Reply to: RE: Ronald Brautigam's Beethoven Sonatas via the fortepiano posted by John C. - Aussie on June 15, 2017 at 00:05:07
Ahem. . . yes I have. I've played on a Broadwood from Beethoven's time and another one from Mozart's time. (I don't remember the builder - it may have been one by Anton Walter, but I'm not sure.) The one from Mozart's time had knee levers instead of pedals. I've also played on an Erard piano from Beethoven's time - this last instance was at a (very wealthy) friend's house, and I played on it quite extensively: many Haydn Sonatas and Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata.
As for the sound of these instruments, I believe I've made my opinions on this subject known over the years in previous posts. ;-)
Broadwood only ever made Double-Action pianos. Like you LOVE but with iron frames.
And so, the Walter should have sounded VERY different from the Broadwood.
One is forced to ask if either piano was in good working condition, which I doubt.
Skeptical Measurer & Audio Scrounger
I never said they sounded the same. Yes, one sounded like a toy piano and the other sounded like strung-together rubber bands. I'll never understand how people can listen to these instruments (other than to get a sense of the severely limited expressive possibilities which the keyboard composers of those times had at their disposal), and even take pleasure in their primitive sounds. But far be it from me to dictate what people should listen to! ;-)
As for their working condition, they were locked away in a holy-of-holies special room (almost a shrine!) and were only available to be played as part of a general class (as in my case - where you had to prostrate yourself before being allowed access - just kidding!) or to be used only by the one or two specialist keyboard players who were majoring in fortepiano playing. I do not know what regular maintenance they received, but, in general, the faculty worshipped these instruments, so I'm sure they were well cared for.
Not that I have many piano forte recordings but one I like a lot is Andreas Steier's Schubert's Impromptus played on a 1996 Christopher Clarke Fortepiano copy of 1827 instrument by the Viennese maker Graf.
Certainly it's not a modern Steinway, but warm and atmospheric, this is a nice intimate recording. Slightly closed down and veiled but very little distortion through the frequency range and I think it has a realistic tonal colours and in-room presence to my ears. I was surprising that period instrument has this much bottom end. ( but then this is a replica so maybe they've improved some constructions here and there.)
P.S. I just googled and Graf was Beethoven's last piano.
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