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 email@example.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.
Square Piano Weekend
8th - 10th May
Safely back from Finchcocks 2015. Thank you to all those who came to make it such a great party. We all had fun, I think, and made some new Friends. Reports and pictures will be developed on these pages as soon as I have had time to get my act together.
The centre-piece of the weekend was of course Martyna Kazmierczak's presentation for the prestigious Clementi Award. Congratulations, Martyna!
The theme of her presentation was the study of Haydn's visits to London, how it changed his music, and the relationship between rhetoric and musical expression. It may sound a bit highbrow, but the theme was skilfully and charmingly presented, and enhanced with musical illustrations on a square piano by Longman & Broderip and the beautiful 1801 Broadwood grand. A machine could play the notes as written, but there is so much more to musical expression than that. The music talks to us, and Martyna showed us why we enjoy her playing so much.
In the picture above, she is playing an illustration on the Longman & Broderip.
We were privileged to have Christopher and Frances Clementi with us for the day, and in the picture below they are in the front row, just to Martyna's right. Below, Christopher Clementi presents the Award.
A personal highlight for me was the début of the newly-restored 1704 Blunt spinet, seen above, apparently (but wrongly) dated '1664'. This false inscription misled scholars for more than a hundred years, and gave rise to the tale that Thomas Hitchcock (who did indeed have a hand in making this one) was active from 1664 to 1703.
Last seen in public at the 1885 exhibition in the Royal Albert Hall, it re-surfaced at an auction in Newcastle in 2014. It has been my privilege to restore it to playing order, and I am very happy with the comments of several Friends that 'it doesn't look as if it has been restored at all.'
More about this on the Spinet page in due course. But it is my feeling that it has not been in proper working order for perhaps 250 years, so I was very happy that Martyna was the first to play it properly for a very long time. The sound is truly remarkable.
Broadwood Grand c.1862 For Sale
Not a square, I know, but I've made an exception for this fine nine-foot grand. Please see the Sale Page
Érard 1804 - Sold!
Another one for the Sale Page
Broadwood 1797 For Sale
Please see the Sale Page for details of this latest arrival
Broadwood 1841 For Sale
This fine-looking Broadwood is also on Sale Page, along with several others.
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.