In Mrs Findlay’s Broadwood Square Piano, author Michael Hannon traces the extraordinary history of his 1804 instrument, originally bought by Mrs Dorothy Findlay, widow of a wealthy Glasgow tobacco merchant.
In 1977 it re-appeared at an Irish auction where the author’s mother bought it. This lavishly illustrated book comes with a specially commissioned CD, including the only publicly available recording of John Donaldson’s Sonata for the Piano Forte [ca. 1822], played on a modern Steinway by Croatian Pianist Inja Davidović.
(Inja Davidović – Photo: Janko Matic)
Donaldson ‘ran off’ with ‘The Flighty Dorothea’, Mrs Findlay’s youngest daughter, who had been his pupil; he eventually won the Chair of Music at Edinburgh where he pioneered the scientific study of acoustics and established The John Donaldson [now the Edinburgh University] Collection of Historical Musical Instruments.
Inja Davidović also plays excerpts from Bach’s English Suites and John Field’s Nocturne No.5 on the square piano. Clips from these recordings can be heard at the special website:
This fascinating detective story also reveals uncanny links between Mrs Findlay’s descendants, who made their fortune as tobacco merchants and East Indiamen, and the author’s forebears, the famous shipbuilding Dennys of Dumbarton: it was an entrepreneurial Findlay/Denny partnership that established the historic ‘Irrawaddy Flotilla’, immortalized by Rudyard Kipling in ‘The Road to Mandalay, where the old flotilla lay..’.
With 15 chapters including ‘John Broadwood and the Square Piano’, ‘The Irrawaddy Flotilla’ and ‘Dennys of Dumbarton’, the book, with CD, is priced at £20 plus p&p; for full details, including ordering by PayPal, check the website, through the above link.
Alternatively, for telephone orders, please call Michael Hannon direct on 0114 2302667.
(From outside the UK 44 114 2302667)