The Art of Square Pianos
This is a great project which involves at least 20 square pianos of the golden age of the early piano, a time that reflected other qualities of music than volume and power. After ca.1830 the volume became primiraly important and Square Pianos became much less important until their decline within a few decades whereas in the 18th century there were in fact more square pianos being made than grand pianos especially in England, France, Spain, Scandinavian countries and USA!
Probably in Vienna there were equally that many grand pianos as square pianos.
English Square Pianos played an important role in this whole period and were also traded in German speaking areas as well as Italy and nearly everywhere else due to their sound quality, durablility and good look.
In Germany there were also many square pianos being made by makers like Baumann and those who copied his style, Friederici, Wagner, Hubert and even Stein and Silbermann plus many more. It can be that even in Germany more square pianos being made compared to grand pianos.
Who played on Square Pianos?
It is a guess by today's musicians who think square pianos were made for amateurs but we see that professional musicians like Mozart even recommended their pupils and patrons (who could certainly pay for grand pianos) to buy ''Kleines Piano-forte'' meaning nothing but so called Square pianos by Baumann.
He certainly didn't get any commission from Baumann because he even for a moment forgot his name and mentioned him as the guy in ''Zweibrücken'' who was clearly no one but the famous Christian Baumann.
That Colloredo of Salzburg also owned one Square Piano by Baumann (which still exists today) is another proof that Mozart meant Baumann.
Interestingly Baumann pianos were made with only one type of action called the simple Prellmechanik.
For today's Fortepianist who prefers to remain in his/her comfort zone such an action is a bit difficult to play due to its simplicity. It doesn't allow the fortepianist to play as loud as one can play on a Walter piano.
While learning more about all these one also experiences the playable instruments of that time, understands the limits and capacities. Beyond all these there is a secret and code and that is the discovery of true qualities these instruments which they allow us to create once we understand how technically these so called ''limitations'' are there to allow you to learn how delicate your touch should be.
Only this way we can musically and technically understand what is the true essence and beauty of early Square Pianos.
We have found talented artists who can help us show these qualities not only through academic lecture recitals but also music videos that explore the known, little known and totally unknown but equally well deserving repertoire of the period for the eager and interested audience.
It will help us create motivation, passion and knowledge about these types of Pianos that played a big role in the music life of nearly all composers of the classic and early romantic period.
You can help us make this happen!