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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 16th January 2017
Spinet Day at Chelveston, April 8th
Broadwood c. 1822 For Sale
Tomkison Piano for Auction, January 13th Sold for £270 Hammer Price
From Russia With Love -
The Finest of all Zumpe's Pianos
Spinet Day April 8th
The highlight of our year will be our Spinet Day, to be held at Chelveston (Northamptonshire) on Saturday April 8th. As you would expect from Friends of Square Pianos, it will be an informal and sociable day, with plenty of opportunity to chat and make new friends, and to enjoy playing the instruments. There will be a few 'experts' there, but it is primarily a day for those who are relatively new to the world of these lovely instruments. Plans are still being developed, but already it seems that this will be the largest gathering of spinets (about a dozen?) since the International Inventions Exhibition of 1885. It is a nice touch that two of the instruments that were in the 1885 show will now be re-united. The Hitchcock number 1460 is one of them, and the internationally famous harpsichord specialist Alan Cuckston will be playing this one (and others) for us.
Not all spinets were made in London! We will be delighted to welcome a spinet by the famous York maker Thomas Haxby.
Please see the Spinet Day April 2017 page for details. More will be added as the programme evolves.
The list is filling up nicely, but there are still places. If you would like to come, please let me know as soon as possible.
Please email me, David, on email@example.com
Questions, comments, and suggestions will be very welcome.
Broadwood c.1822 For Sale
This one needs a full restoration, but there are no visible signs of any earlier intervention. Please see the Sale Page.
Pianos For Auction at T W Gaze, Diss,
Friday 13th January
Please see the Auction Page for details of this Tomkison Square on the Auction Page.
From Russia With Love
The most famous, and certainly the most elaborate of all Zumpe's pianos is the example specially ordered in 1774 by the Empress Catherine the Great. She gave it to her son Paul and his wife Maria Fiodorovna for their new Palace at Pavlovsk, near St Petersburg. The spendily inlaid case was designed by Robert Adam. The case, with its eight legs, was very much designed for show, and is larger that is necessary to accommodate the piano.
Until recently, we knew little about this amazing piano, but a few years ago a full restoration was put in hand. The restoration was a major piece of work, but the musical aspects were skilfully completed by our friend Pavel Akhanov. It was my privilege to be asked to provide a full set of authentic-style wrestpins. The restoration of the cabinet was undertaken by the St Petersburg restorer Alxander Khukhtonen.
The result is a spectacular piano with a beautiful sound, and a recording of works by Mozart has been made by Yuri Semenov. A charming touch is the addition of the chimes of a Peter Torkler clock to open and cl0se the recital and between pieces. The clock was also made in London, and is now amongst the exhibits at Pavlovsk.
The cover-notes are bilingual, but sadly, it seems that this lovely CD is not generally available (in UK anyway) so special thanks to Pavel for this gift.
Piano Auctions Thursday December 15th, and Meeting of Friends of Square Pianos Wednesday December 14th
We enjoyed our traditional gathering of Friends of Square pianos on Wednesday 14th December, the viewing day before the sale, when eight or nine of us enjoyed a chat, coffee, and lunch at the pub. Oh, yes, and we enjoyed looking at the pianos as well.
Special thanks to Hatice Gunes, of the Park Cafe in Red Lion Square, who remembers us and looks forward to our visits.
Our friend Luke Bradley has just moved into a flat quite near to Holborn, and he very kindly invited all of us to accompany him to his new home for aftenoon tea.
Please see the Auction Page for details of the sale results.
1770 Pohlman Sold at Auction
It is worth keeping our eyes on the non-specialist auctions around the country. This delightful 1770 Pohlman was sold at Tennants on Saturday 8th October.
The pianos of Johann Christoph Zumpe were the first to achieve fame in England, but his compatriot Johannes Pohlman (one 'n', please) was not far behind. There are those who say that his pianos are rather better made, and less prone to the dreaded 'twist'. Please admire the decorative brasswork on this one. It does need some work, but it will be a beautiful little piano.
The auction estimate for this one was a modest £70, but the action began with a commission bid of £500, and after a late intervention on the telephone the hammer fell at £2,400.
New CD Release
I'm always happy to feature Friends' recordings on this website, especially if they are on square pianos! This one by Medea Bindewald is remarkable in bringing to us the music of the little-known composer Jacob Kirkman, a nephew of our most famous harpsichord maker. It is also notable as one of the last recordings made at Finchcocks. The 'Crowdfunding' campaign has now been successfully completed.
Please see the Friends' Recordings page for more details.
Making a Spinet - The 1704 Blunt Replica
Some of you may have been following the construction - starting from a pile of wood - of this replica of a remarkable and important instrument. The spinet is now complete and playing well, and has gone to its new home in Scotland.
Please see the Spinet Page for the story.
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.
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..