Anonymous, viennese school, ca 1785
This magnificent piano must have been in Germany, in Gera to be precise, proof of which was found under the soundboard where mice had made their nests of snippets of Gera newspaper and of a Gera bee-keeper’s brochure.
The great instrument makers of the Friederici family lived in Gera, they made pianos and other instruments in solid oak. But since there is no surviving comparable instrument which is signed, it cannot be attributed to Friederici with certainty.
It is clear though that this instrument is a perfect piano for music of Mozart and Haydn.
In Mozart’s day composers were commissioned by the nobility to compose music for various special occasions. This music was performed in halls of palaces. As yet there was no concert practice of audiences sitting on chairs listening to performers on a stage.
The miniature portrait of an unknown gentleman is by Louis-André Fabre, ca 1785
Recordings, a selection
Alexei Lubimov and Yuri Martynov
W.A. Mozart, pieces for two fortepianos
Zig-Zag Territoires, ZZT306
Haydn, Late piano works
Channel Classics, CCS SA 26509
The Art of Emotions