Finchcocks 2014

10th - 11th May

This page is being updated with details of the programme and all arrangements.  Please watch this space!

Provisional Programme

The provisional programme is as follows:


09.30 - Doors Open, Coffee in the Cellar Restaurant.  


10.30 - The Early Development of the Square Piano in America - Tom Strange (see below)


11.10 - Tales from the Saleroom - Graham Wells


11.50 - A Portable Square Piano - Charles Trute?


12.10 - “The Sound of Silence”: On hearing Music in the 18th and early 19th Century - Olaf van Hees (see below)


12.40 - Music on the Clavichord - Martyna Kazmierczak


1.00 - Lunch in the Cellar Resaturant


2.00 - The Square Piano as a Musical Instrument: A player's perspective - Martyna Kazmierczak (with musical illustrations)


3.30 - Tea Break


4.00 - The Broadwood Tuners - Alastair Laurence


4.30 - Bells and Whistles: mutation stops and pedals - Luke Bradley


(If Time Allows - Technical Developments including Tinning and Gluing techniques; Materials Update)


6.30 - A Square Meal: Dinner inthe Cellar Restaurant.


8.00 - Concert by Café Haydn: The Square Piano in Domestic Entertainment (see below)


On the Sunday morning (May 11th) the Cellar Restaurant will be open from 10.00 for coffee, and the Collection will be open for informal study.  Alastair Laurence will open the The Broadwood Workshops on request.  


Lunches will be available from 12.30.  The normal Finchcocks Open Day starts at 2.00, and we may join this for no extra charge.  We are hoping that Café Haydn will be performing again during the afternoon.


Additionally, we are hoping that a visit to the Colt Collection in nearby Bethersden will be possible on the Friday and/or the Monday.  


Main Programme: £50 per person.  Concession £25 for full-time students under 30.


Dinner: £25


Concert: £10.


Tea and Coffee on the Saturday included.  All other meals and drinks at cost.


This year, it would be a considerable help if we could pay in advance on-line directly to Finchcocks.  This will save a lot of time on the Saturday morning. lease go to our page on the Finchcocks site via this link


Please note that on the PayPal option, you do not need a PayPal account of your own - you can pay via a credit or debit card.  It will still be possible to pay by cash on the day, but the on-line payment option would be a great help.  

To confirm reervations, and for all enquiries, please contact David on

Café Haydn - 'Tea with Jane'



Cecilia Baesso (IT) Violin

Annabeth Shirley (USA) Violoncello

Tullja Melandri (Italy) Pianoforte

Olaf van Hees (Netherlands) Bass


(Note that Cecilia replaces the handsome young man in the picture)


The last year the ensemble Café Haydn with the program “Tea with Jane” has been arguable the best selling classical Music ensemble in The Netherlands.

They reenact a musical evening with a cup of tea, as it was usual around 1800 in a well to do English household. That was not as formal as we think today.

Some songs and lyrics caused amused raised eyebrows and hilarious moments. With this program with music by Haydn, the composer with the status of a popstar in the era of Jane Austen, his Scottish Songs, his pianotrios and pianosonatas, written to please the audience (and especially the ladies!!).

It is known that Jane Austen was fond of dancing, so a pasticcio of Country Dances is on the program too.

Beside that, Jane Austen was a keen fortepiano player, who knew how to use her square piano and she frequently copied music in her own music books. She even arranged music. Café Haydn will perform a song by Charles Dibdin,`The Soldier’s Adieu`, arranged by Jane Austen as `The Sailors Adieu` (she had two brothers in the Royal Navy), together with a violin part from her hand.

Café Haydn makes clear that classical music is not always serious. Time for some mischief?


Café Haydn has performed the program 'Tea with Jane' in The Netherlands for sold-out music rooms. Reactions of the audience: Absolutely hilarious!


For Finchcocks 2014, of course everything evolves around the square piano. This year, the concert focuses on different role of the square piano. Not as a domestic solo instrument, but as a part of an ensemble,or to accompany a singer. In all our efforts to preserve the square piano, we frequently forget that it was used in this form for an important part of their musical life.

'Melting Pot' - An Appreciation of Early American Square Pianos, by Thomas Strange

Melting Pot: Adoption, Adaptation, and Innovation in 19th Century American Pianos

Piano making in America remained a small enterprise by boutique craftsmen working as individuals or in small partnerships through the 18th C, all building pianos very much like the ones being imported from London at the time. However, coincident with the immigration of John Geib and family, and then quickly Thomas Gibson and Morgan Davis, all from London shops associated with Longman & Broderip and Clementi, piano making in America began to occur in a large way, with as many as one or two pianos a week coming out of the shop. By 1809 America was participating in the cutting edge of piano design, with the newly introduced round corner fronts. In the teens America introduced new design elements into the piano, while continuing to copy the London established mechanical aspects of the action. Following the arrival of the Nunns brothers in the 1820s, and their establishment of an independent shop tradition later in that decade, new elements were rapidly introduced into the action and design that would change the way square pianos were made, making them more responsive, aligned to disparate customer needs, and price points. This presentation will review in pictures this transformation of the piano, and identify probable origins of design elements from England, France, and the US, from 1800 to 1850.

'The Sound of Silence': On hearing music in the 18th and early 19th centuries, by Olaf van Hees

For the lay people in Early Music practice, it is unimaginable that in the 17th and 18th century trombones (in those days called sackbutts) could play together with recorders. Trombones, in present days the symbol of orchestral loudness, together with recorders?

This all has to do with size, tube diameter and, above all, good taste.

Already at the end of the 19th century, the crave for hedonistic louder and louder music begins its march through musical history. Pianofortes grew to gigantic proportions, orchestras couldn’t be big enough, pitch couldn’t be high enough.

And, as it is in most cases with hedonism, loudness in music during the 20th century deteriorated into a pornographic character and caricature: louder, louder and louder. The beauty is in the loudness.


There was a time in music that music couldn’t be soft enough. The lute was the favourite instrument for subtlety, the soft clavichord prefered above the harpsichord to express emotions. And when the pianoforte was invented, the first really reliable and playable pianofortes were the squares, so loved for their small dimensions and their fine and subtle sound, soft and sophisticated like fine lace. Always played with the lid closed.


There is scientifical evidence why in those days music had to be softer and softer, and not louder and louder. The loudest noise people knew was the rolling thunder or the shot of a cannon or pistol.

Only the last 50-60 years we know what it requires to hear music, and it soon became clear that the softer the sound, the better you hear it. Those old whigs centuries ago were right!!

With some short acoustical graphs and psychoneuroacoustical analyses it will all be revealed to you.


Prof. Dr. Olaf S. van Hees is the author of numerous publications on the subject of hearing in musicians. In 1991 he stirred the scientific and musical world with his thesis “Hearing damage in Musicians”. The last ten years he has switched fulltime to harpsichords and square pianos: nice and soft music.

Menu for Dinner

Saturday 10 May 2014.                Friends of Square Pianos             Pre-concert supper
Butterfly pasta infused with basil, pesto, sunblushed tomatoes and feta cheese on rocket leaves
Wild mushroom soup gathered from the grounds served with a fresh baked roll
Fresh salmon topped with red pepper, coriander and couscous, wrapped in a pastry net served with a dill cream sauce
Cornfed chicken breast filet with apricots, rosemary and wild mushrooms, served with a roasted tomato sauce
(vegetarian option available)
Potatoes and vegetables of the day
Hot apple strudel and ice cream
Profiteroles and chocolate sauce

More Details to Follow!

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© David Hackett