Welcome to Friends of Square Pianos!

Welcome to Friends of Square Pianos! This is a sort of on-line club for anyone who owns, or would like to own,  a square piano. Or anyone who is just interested, possibly to learn a little more.

 

Please get in touch with me, David, on friends.sp@btinternet.com with questions, comments, or just to say 'Hello'.  This is a site for everyone, especially those new to the world of Square Pianos.  And of course, we very much appreciate the support of those with more experience.

 

Update 4th September

 

Piano Auctions' September Sale 

 

Tomkison c. 1835 Free to Good Home

 

A very early Rolfe piano For Sale

 

1829 Broadwood For Sale

 

A 'Beck Clavichord' For Sale

Piano Auctions' September Sale

and Meeting of Friends of Square Pianos

  We look forward to the next sale to be organised by Piano Auctions Ltd at Conway Hall, Holborn, on September 17th. 

 

   I can also confirm that we will be having our usual informal gathering of Friends of Square Pianos on Wednesday 16th September in Conway Hall.  If the weather is good (as it should be) we will take refreshment in the café in Red Lion Square gardens.  Or lunch in the Dolphin pub if winter arrives early...  Please come along if you can, especially if you have not been before.

  There will be three fine early pianos in the sale.  

The full catalogue is now on-line at    www.pianoauctions.co.uk

and all available details (incuding extra pictures) are on our Auctions Page - and more will be added as they become available. 

Tomkison c. 1836 FtGH

This piano was restored at some time in the Finchcocks workshops.  It now needs to find a new home urgently, so the owner is very kindly offering it Free to Good Home.  Please see the Sale Page for details.

Rolfe c. 1800 For Sale

The early Rolfe pianos, with their beautiful flower paintings on the nameboard, are always popular.  This is a very early example, with a five-octave keyboard and no frets on the nameboard.  

Please see the Sale Page for details.

Broadwood 1829 For Sale

It's not often that we see a piano in such 'Ready to Play' condition: this handsome 1829 Broadwood has recently been restored by Andy and Robert Durand.  Please see the Sale Page for details of this one.

A 'Beck Clavichord' For Sale

It was fairly common in the early years of the twentieth century for square pianos to be 'converted' into clavichords.  In theory, there are problems with this idea, because the position of the tangents (assuming the original keys were used) comes some way to the right of the nut, thereby shortening the scale in a somewhat irregular fashion. Also, the structure and soundboard are heavier than is necessary for a clavichord's light strings.   However, all this being said, some of these conversions work remarkably well!  It was usually the older and smaller pianos that were thus converted, and although we now wish that they had survived as pianos, this is part of history.  And I have seen reasonable conversions from early pianos by Buntebart & Sievers, Ganer, and Kirckman.  I would even say that these are more satisfactory than some twentieth-century instruments that were built as clavichords.

  These instruments rarely come up for sale, but we now have an example based on a Beck piano, c.1790. 

 

Please see the Sale Page for more details of this unusual item.

A Beautiful Rolfe. c.1807

Home Assured!

  We all love the pretty floral decorations to be found on the nameboards of a few of the best early 19th-century English pianos, and this design is surely the prettiest of them all.  This beautiful piano was rescued from a barn in the Cotswolds around 1950, and has been untouched since then; we are now happy to say that its future is now assured.  Please see the Sale Page for more details.

A New Clementi CD - Clementi on Clementi

Our Friend Marina Rodriguez Bria has recently recorded a splendid new CD of Clementi's music played on an 1824 piano carrying his name.  

The CD is number UMCCD001, and it is now available via this link.

Making a Spinet - Progress Report

This project - making a replica of the beautiful 1704 Edward Blunt spinet - is going well, and the first part of the making of the basic structure and the case is now complete.  Please go to the Spinet Page to follow this.

Live Events

There are so many concerts, recitals, and other events that I cannot possibly maintain details of them all, but I will make every effort to publicize events in which Friends are directly involved.  So we now have a new Events Page, and I will endeavour to carry headlines here on the Front Page. Please support them if you possibly can.

 

 

Looking further ahead, a concert in October by the wonderful Café Haydn, who entertained us at Finchcocks in 2014. This one will take place in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

Making a Spinet

  There is no better way learning about Early Keyboard instruments than to make one. And it's a lot of fun.  There's also the bonus that with a bit of care, it should turn out well, and yield an instrument that plays decently.

 

  One of the highlights of  Finchcocks 2015 for me was the presentation of the 1704 Blunt spinet, which it has been my privilege to restore.  It was an emotional experience to work on an instrument that was making music when Queen Anne was on the throne, and when Bach and Handel were teenagers.  

 

  The next stage in this journey is for me to make one, or probably two replicas, as accurate as I can make them, and to be able to compare the sound of original and replica side-by-side.  

 

  There is no rush for this - I am supposed to be 'retired', and I am an amateur anyway, which means that I will take as long as I need to do the work to the best of my ability. 

 

  I will be recording the progess of the project on the Spinet Page.  The first sections are on there now, and more will follow as the work progresses.  

 

  If you have any comments or questions, do please email me, David at friends.sp@btinternet.com  I do hope that you will join in the fun and have a go - two Friends are involved already!  I cannot promise to solve all problems, but at least you will have someone to talk to.

 

Go to the Spinet Page

 

The Spinet Page

  We all love those beautiful English Spinets, and now they have a Page of their own, where I hope to encourage interest, ownership, and amateur makers.

Square Piano Tech

Please take time to visit our sister website www.squarepianotech.com  This is run by our Friend Tom Strange in America, and is rapidly growing into a treasure-store of permanent wisdom.  

About the 'Webmaster' (David Hackett)

My only claim to respectability is that Carl Dolmetsch once offered to take me on as an apprentice.  This was in 1962, when I had just shown him my first clavichord, and been his guest at Haslemere.  However, he also advised me that it would be better to go to University, and I accepted his advice.  Early Keyboard Instruments have therefore remained a hobby, and now happily retired, I am able to spend a bit more time enjoying them - and encouraging others, I hope..

My real work is with homeless cats now, though - I have the privilege to be Co-ordinator of the local voluntary branch of Cats Protection.

 

www.cats.org.uk/wellingborough

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© David Hackett