martedì 2 dicembre 2008

Quasi Finito - Almost Done

The lid has been polished, along with the fall and some bits and pieces.








Il coperchio del pianoforte, quello dei tasti e la maggiorparte dei pezzi sono stati riverniciati e lucidati.


giovedì 9 ottobre 2008

Paderewski and his Erard

Here is a Photo of Paderewski sitting behind his Erard piano.
Paderewski preferred the Erard, using it whenever he could, and called the Steinway his 'enemy' because of the heavy action which caused him to seriously damage one hand.
Another interesting anecdote: Paderewski is noted as saying that few people could make an Erard sing, and he was one of them. A Steinway, on the other hand sings by itself. He also mentioned that he preferred the Erard because it enabled him to play with a 'fine' sound.

Ecco una foto di Paderewski al suo Erard.
Paderewski preferiva l'Erard. Lo ha usato quando poteva, e chiamava il pianoforte Steinway il 'suo nemico' per la meccanica pesante, che gli ha procurato un malessere serio ad una mano.
Un'altro aneddoto interessante: Paderewski disse che poche persone potevano fare cantare un Erard, e lui era uno di queste persone. Uno Steinway, invece canta da solo, disse. Ha anche detto che preferiva l'Erard perche permetteva di suonare con un suono 'fine'.

mercoledì 8 ottobre 2008

Side View of Erard


Here is a side view of the piano I'm restoring now, which is being french polished after having been stripped and lightly sanded. This was taken before all the strings were mounted. the piano still needs a few day's worth of polishing.


Ecco una foto del pianoforte Erard che sto restaurando adesso, dopo che e stato riportato al suo colore originale. La foto è stata fatta ancora prima che mettessi le corde. Mancano ancora molte ore di lucidatura, prima che il pianoforte sia pronto.

ACTION almost ready




The action is almost ready. I have straightened the many twisted keys (normal for Erard of this age) with heat. I have replaced the majority of felt bits in the action including the hammer-rail-rest because they had been destroyed by moth damage, as is often the case for old pianos. The Hammers were refelted by a professional in paris which uses the same machines Erard did and has been refelting Erards for three generations. The underfelt has been kept in original condition. The backchecks have been regulated. Repair to various bits of the mechanism were also executed.


Il meccanismo dell'Erard e quasi pronto. Ho incollato nuovi feltri nella meccanica per sostituire i vecchi che erano stati distrutti da tarme. I martelli sono stati rifeltrati da un esperto a Parigi che rifeltra martelli Erard da tre generazioni ed utilizza le stesse apparecchiature della fabbrica. I sottofeltri gialli e viola sono rimasti intatti, perchè sono essenziali per il suono autentico Erard.
la meccanica è stata regolata secondo le indicazioni di fabbrica Erard, anche se dovrà essere regolata di nuovo una volta che verrà montata nel pianoforte.

sabato 20 settembre 2008

Damper Mechanism of 1894 Erard


To the right we have parts from the Damper Mechanism, which suffered from aged and hardened leather in their original condition. They had been reglued many times and were not working properly.
I decided to take them all off and reglue new leather, reassembling everything.. with Hide Glue, of course..
Below is the finished result.. (click on the photos to enlarge)

In alto si vedono dei pezzi del meccanismo dei smorzi dell'Erard. La pelle che serve per rendere il pezzo mobile si era indurita, ed era stata scollata ed incollata diverse volte.. Io ho tolto tutte le pelli ed ho incollato pelle nuova con colla calda per ripristinare il funzionamento del meccanismo come nuovo.
In basso il risultato finito.. (cliccate sulla foto per ingrandire)

1894 Erard restoration



Here are some photos of an 1894 Erard I am restoring. The Strings have all been replaced with special French-made steel wire similar to the original Firminy wire. The bass strings have been specially wound with single-wound brass all the way to the bottom note!
The trichord section is copper-wound just like the originals. I have measured the original strings with a high-precision digital micrometer to ensure that the scale is exactly the same as the original Paris Erard scale was.
Tuning pins were not as tight as they should be after 100+ years, so I used new pins which are only 0.3 mm larger, and will grip the wood better because the thread is new and sharp.

The agraffes have all been removed, cleaned, and the holes have been reamed to ensure a perfect contact with the string. The 'Barre Harmonique' (an Erard invention, as the Agraffe), also known as the pressure bar, has been removed and the bearing edge has been restored to a smooth surface, to avoid buzzes and undue lack of sustain.

All felt is new.

Ecco il mio Erard del 1894 con le sue corde nuove in acciaio Francese. Le corde sono simili alle originali Firminy, e sono superiori a quelle usate solitamente da i riparatori di marca Pure sound.

Le corde dei bassi sono state fatte con un SINGOLO avvolgimento fino alla nota più bassa come le originali.. ci sono voluti due anni per trovare un artigiano capace di farmele! le corde del tenore sono avvolte in rame, esattamente come quelle originali.

le agraffe sono state rimosse, pulite, ed i buchi passanti rettificati per assicurare un contatto perfetto con la corda. La barra di pressione, o 'Barre Armonique' (invenzione dell'Erard, come le Agraffe) e stata rettificata per ottenere un perfetto punto di contatto con le corde ed evitare suoni sgradevoli.

i feltri rossi sono nuovi.

mercoledì 27 agosto 2008

Pleyel Grand piano





This Pleyel Grand is peculiar because it still had the original early Felt which was used by Pleyel. Up until that time hammers were made with an external layer of very soft oil-tanned leather.



This piano is currently awaiting restoration.




1845 Broadwood 8-foot Concert Grand



This is an 1845 Broadwood, similar to the one Chopin played in England for his last tour, which was at the time part of the hire fleet.

The first person to have hired the piano was Lady Charlotte Canning, AKA Viscountess Canning, Lady In Waiting to Queen Victoria. The second person was Lindsay Sloper, a famous (at the time) Pianist, who was one of the very few students which Chopin received in England in 1848. Sloper also holds a place in Chopin's history as being the man who presented Jane Stirling to him.
Another curious Chopin-related fact is that the Piano was only down the Block from Chopin's Piccadilly apartment in 1848, at Leon Jablonski's home.. aPolish Patriot responsible for translating Conrad Wallenrod in English. Chopin used this famous Polish bit of literature as the foundation for one of his Ballades.
Knowing that Chopin usually went to call on his fellow patriots, it is likely that he may have had played this piano .


The Piano has had some major work done to it, and is still undergoing restoration.. we'll see how it turns out in a few months!

mercoledì 20 agosto 2008

1890 Erard



This is my lovely late-period Erard, which is great for playing all kinds of music composed until 1900.
It is the same kind as used by all Classical musicians in the 1800's. It can be thought of as the Steinway of the 19° century..
the touch is relatively light, with double-escapement.. it has parallel-stringing, which gives it a balanced and harmonious tone..