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Susan Adams | Broadwood Grand Pianoforte 1809

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Classical: Keyboard Music Classical: Piano solo Moods: Instrumental
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Broadwood Grand Pianoforte 1809

by Susan Adams

Around 1800, John Broadwood of London made the finest pianos in the world. Haydn played one; Beethoven owned one. The album is a recording of an original Broadwood grand pianoforte from 1809. Two tracks with antique mandolin too!
Genre: Classical: Keyboard Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sonate in C Major, Hob. XVI:50: 1. Allegro
6:52 $0.99
2. Sonate in C Major, Hob. XVI:50: 2. Adagio
6:18 $0.99
3. Sonate in C Major, Hob. XVI:50: 3. Allegro Molto
2:45 $0.99
4. Sonate in D Minor, Op. 31 #2, "The Tempest": 1. & 2. Largo, Allegro: Adagio
15:46 $0.99
5. Sonate in D Minor, Op. 31 #2, "The Tempest": 3. Allegretto
6:18 $0.99
6. Nocturne in D Minor
4:26 $0.99
7. Nocturne in B-Flat Major
3:20 $0.99
8. 11 Bagatelles, Op. 119: No. 1in G Minor
2:28 $0.99
9. The Bluebells of Scotland
1:05 $0.99
10. Over the Sea to Skye
1:43 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Around 1800, John Broadwood of London made the finest pianos in the world. Haydn played one; Beethoven owned one. This album is a recording of an original Broadwood grand pianoforte very similar to Beethoven's own piano, built in1809, restored by Marinus Van Prattenburg in 2009, and played by early keyboard specialist Susan Adams. The final two tracks feature a mandolin made by Cesare Montaldi in Naples before 1850 and restored by Clive Titmuss in 2017.

The resources of the early 19th Century piano provide a refreshing viewpoint on these well-known works. Broadwood’s design allowed the dampers to be divided for the upper and lower part of the keyboard, allowing them to be used independently, a feature which Beethoven actually notated in his music. The use of this “split sostenuto” pedal provides a veil of resonance without obscuring the piano’s clarity.

Great Pulteney Street is named as the location of the Broadwood factory on the name-board of this piano. It has recently been established that Haydn made use of his proximity to Broadwood’s piano factory when he visited London in 1792 and again in 1795, using Broadwood’s as a place to compose and play. Undoubtedly he played on an instrument similar to this one.

Haydn’s Sonata No. 60 exhibits a wide range of sonority, from just a few notes to full orchestral texture. It is easy to picture almost any section being played in the strings or on the horn, bassoon or oboe. One passage especially brings a smile as Haydn clearly indicates that the pedal should simply be held down as the tinkling sound of a wind-up music box resonates in the whole instrument. As he often did, Haydn wrote the closing rondo in the style of a village dance, with surprising shifts of register and contrasts between loud and soft. It is a good-humoured and original work, as Haydn makes complex structures from only a few notes.

When Beethoven's first biographer, Schindler, asked him what he intended to convey in the Sonata Op. 31, No. 2, Beethoven replied that Schindler should read Shakespeare’s play, “The Tempest”. Rather than rendering a literal interpretation, Beethoven stages opposing forces - a magical atmosphere, driving rhythms, and powerful chordal architecture. The sonata echoes more than a few Baroque characteristics, with its arpeggiated chords, dramatic tempo changes, cross-rhythms and recitatives. It is worth remembering that according to Czerny, Beethoven used to start his days by playing from Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier”.

Though born in Ireland, John Field spent much of his life outside of his country. While in England he developed a close association with the piano virtuoso and entrepreneur Clementi, and this in turn led him to St. Petersburg where he lived for many years. Near the end of his life, he returned to Britain, and after his departure he wrote the Nocturne in D, perhaps knowing that he would not see his homeland again. The ethereal Nocturne in B flat is exemplary of Field’s poetic approach to the piano.

Two arrangements by Susan Adams of anonymous Scottish folk songs conclude this recording. The antique mandolin, restored and played by Clive Titmuss, provides a striking complement to the sound of the antique Broadwood pianoforte.

More period instrument recordings played by Susan Adams and Clive Titmuss on the lute, theorbo, mandora, vihuela, harpsichord and Viennese piano are available on CD Baby and other providers. More information, photos and edited music scores are offered on the Early Music Studio website.



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