Fortepiano


Late 18th-century piano music performed on a copy of a period instrument reveals an aspect of the music, be it Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn or their contemporaries, which is masked by the many overtones of the modern piano. The wooden frame, lighter hammers and less string tension allow the instrument to sing with a clearer sound quality and consequently to reveal all the subtleties of the melodic line. Such an instrument is what these composers knew and had in mind when they wrote their keyboard works.

Bernard Brauchli’s fortepiano is copied after an instrument built in the 1780’s in Vienna by Anton Walter (1752-1826) which originally belonged to Mozart who in his later years is known to have favoured the instruments of this maker. It was donated by his son Carl to the Mozarteum in Salzburg in 1856. This particular instrument is ideally suited to works by late 18th-century composers and to early Beethoven.

John Lyons, a copy of a fortepiano by Anton Walter (Vienna, ca. 1780)

Sample programs


Early Works for the Piano

Works by C. Ph. E. Bach, D. Cimarosa, B. Galuppi, J. Haydn, W. A. Mozart

W. A. Mozart and His Contemporaries

Works by C. Ph. E. Bach, J. Haydn, Fr. Seydelmann, W. A. Mozart

The Intimacy of W. A. Mozart

Works by W. A. Mozart

Reviews


“Brauchli closed the sonata with intensity, the instrument responding more vividly than a Steinway could. It was a performance of much colour, of striking power, of pathos, but also of celebration; it was Mozart telling us through the keyboard that there is sadness, but ultimately it will be vanquished in joy. Brauchli had perhaps taken us to deeper levels of Mozart, and perhaps humanity, than de Larrocha…Both provided engaging approaches to Mozart.”

The Tech (Cambridge, U.S.A.), Jonathan Richmond

“An oceanic audience, a roaring applause, unbridled enthusiasm. Enthusiasm more than justified by Bernard Brauchli’s extraordinary performance on a wing-shaped fortepiano copied from an instrument by Anton Walter. Superb interpretation.”

Il Biellese (Biella, Italy), Alberto Galazzo