On Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th May, 36 people attended the 3rd Square Piano Weekend at Finchcocks Musical Museum, Goudhurst, Kent in the UK. The major presentation was given by Leif Sahlqvist, who has devoted many years to a study of the pianos of Muzio Clementi and his talk gave an insight into the makers numbers on Clementi pianos. From his work it is possible to accurately date Clementi pianos for the first time since the original records were lost. A PDF file of his study is available on the website: www.friendsofsquarepianos.co.uk
David Shuker gave a presentation on Organised Square Pianos. Not many of these instruments have survived that combined a piano and organ in a single instrument. David gave an overview of the history of these instruments and their construction. Marie Kent talked about “Prison, Plenius, Scharder and Hartz”. Marie gave a very interesting insight into the debtor’s prisons in London where a surprising number of piano makers found themselves when in difficult financial circumstances. Olaf van Hees gave a tale of an “Aladdin’s Cave” of early pianos in Amsterdam some of which are of special merit. These instruments have been left in storage with an uncertain future. Although this was presented in a light hearted way it is of concern to those who have a serious interest in early pianos. There was also a talk on regulating single action square pianos given by Lucy Coad and David Hackett.
On Saturday evening a concert was given by the young pianist Martyna Kazmierczak. The instruments she used were the Walter c.1805, a very small portable piano but with a surprisingly good tone; a Beyer of 1777, and the bigger Clementi from the early 1820s. These pianos are part of the collection of instruments at Finchcocks Musical Museum.
Thanks go to Richard and Katrina Burnett for hosting the event at Finchcocks, and also to Alastair Laurence of Broadwood & Sons and David Hackett of Friends of Square Pianos for organising the event. I am sure that everyone enjoyed the Square Piano Weekend and look forward to another event next year.