Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

What Would Mozart Play?

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Well, he’d play a Stein piano, for one.  Here is a piano that Mozart played that was built by Anton Walter, based on Stein’s design.

Fortepiano specialist Kristian Bezuidenhout talks about how Mozart’s piano differed from the modern piano here.

Beethoven owned a number of pianos.  Here is an inventory.

A program on the restoration of Beethoven’s Broadwood is here (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Parts 3 and 4 feature bagatelles, part 5 contains Beethoven’s Fantasia Op. 77.

Chopin played a Pleyel (No 13819 in fact) from 1848.  He said, “When I am not in the mood, I play on the Erard piano, where I find the ready tone easily. But when I am full of vigour and strong enough to find my very own tone – I need a Pleyel piano”  Check out these offerings from (Chopin fans, your weekend is now planned) on Chopin’s Pleyel, Erard. and Broadwood pianos .  Here is Chopin’s Pleyel piano.

Here’s a historical recording of Raoul Koczalski playing Chopin’s Pleyel (year given here as 1847) in 1948 in Warsaw.

Want more?  A show in Howard Goodall’s BBC Big Bangs series is devoted to the history of the piano.  I own the series and recommend it (available for purchase at the usual venues).  I would also like to recommend his Story of Music tv series (from the paleolithic to the present!), but sadly, the BBC has not made it available for purchase at this time.  Clips from the series can be seen here.  It is, however, available in book form.

One thought on “What Would Mozart Play?

  1. Wonderful overview- and great sound bites- would prefer a bit more playing, but the talking was on target and accurate. Again reinforces how critical room acoustics, recording quality, and musicality and stylistic awareness of the player are- with these instruments you can run but not hide. One has to be so careful playing Mozart on a modern instrument!




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