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 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 13th October
BBC Lunchtime Concerts
A Big Collard & Collard FtGH
House Concerts in Arundel, Sussex
Broadwood 1802 - Price Reduced
Dr Arne and His Spinett
BBC Lunchtime Concerts
BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concerts at LSO St Luke’s – London Resounding
London Resounding places the spotlight on music in the capital in the 17th and 18th centuries, at the time the LSO’s Old Street venue, LSO St Luke’s, was founded. The four concerts celebrate the era’s most influential composers and musical figures, their music recreated by renowned experts in historical performance:
Please see the Events Page for details of these concerts, including a 2-for-1 ticket offer.
A Big Collard & Collard in Ireland
This is a big piano - nearly seven octaves - surely one of the last of the English square pianos. This one is in Ireland. It needs a good deal of work, so the owner is very kindly offering it Free to Good Home. She would, however, appreciate a donation to her favourite cancer charity. Please see the Sale Page for details.
Two House Concerts in Arundel, Sussex, October 17th and 18th.
Those of us who came to the Friends of Square Pianos weekend at Finchcocks in May were privileged to hear Martyna Kazmierczak's memorable Clementi Award presentation, the subject of which was the piano sonatas of Josef Haydn. This presentation, with a shortened form of the lecture but more music, will feature in the second of two House Concerts in Arundel on Sunday October 18th. The first, on Saturday 17th, will feature Olivia Sham in a varied programme.
Please see the Events Page for details, and to order tickets.
Broadwood 1802 - Price Reduced
This classic piano does now need to find a new home fairly soon, so the price has been reduced. Please see the Sale Page for details.
A New Recording of a Spinet by Thomas Haxby
We all love music, of course, but it is fair comment that this website is really about Early Keyboard Instruments, Square Pianos in particular. But Friends know that I extend this to include English Spinets, surely the forerunner of the Square Piano. So we are of course interested to hear and compare these instruments, either at first-hand, of by way of recordings.
I did recently say that I did not know of any recordings devoted to a particular spinet, so special thanks to Peter and Mary Berg for picking this up, and drawing our attention to a CD featuring their lovely Haxby spinet, c. 1760, and the music of our very own Thomas Arne. And yes, the CD does include variations on 'Rule, Britannia!'
Please see the Friends' Recordings page for details of this one.
Piano Auctions' September Sale
and Meeting of Friends of Square Pianos
We had a record turnout of Friends for our informal meeting on Wednesday September 16th, the viewing day for the Piano Auctions sale at Conway Hall, Holborn.
There were three fine early pianos in the sale; a report and more pictures are on the Auctions Page.
A Very Fine Zumpe Piano For Sale
It's not often that a piano by the first established London maker is offered for sale. It was a concert by JC Bach on one of Johannes Zumpe's first intruments that introduced the piano to the London society in the 1760s. It's also not often that I can say that I have seen one of the 'Sale' pianos, but it has been my privilege to play a few notes on this one. It is very fine indeed.
Please see the Sale Page for details of this very special piano,
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.
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 email@example.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
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..
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.