Follow US:

Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Fortepianos: The Right Tool for the Music

Difficulty: 0

[Music Playing]

>> DANIEL ADAM MALTZ: Welcome to Jause, a snack-sized slice of Viennese classical music

and Austrian culture.

Im your host, Daniel Adam Maltz.

This Jause is an excerpt from Classical Cake, op. 5.

In this excerpt, were talking with Paul McNulty and Viviana Sofronitsky, producers

of some of today's best fortepianos, about using the

right instrument for classical and Romantic music.

One thing I'm particularly interested in is what is your philosophy when building a copy?

Do you try to make exact replicas based on research

or do you make modifications to, for example, suit

the sound world expected for modern audiences?

>> PAUL MCNULTY: No, you cannot design a piano to the architecture.

That was Steinway and it was done once.

And the architecture of 1870 is what we hear now.

The Musikverein 1870, the Concertgebouw 1878 stuff like this.

And those buildings gave Brahms to reply to a request for a European tour involving these

new concert halls.

He said, just make sure theres an American Steinway if you want me to play in

these places.

And that distinction is on the basis of architecture, not music.

So I'm interested in the pursuit of the sound recognizable to a builder of this instrument

who could walk by without noticing a difference.

>> VIVIANA SOFRONITSKY: And, what I see from our customers is that they come to us and

they are not saying, ‘Oh, this instrument is

good I want to have this.’

They say, ‘Oh, I love Mozart, I want an instrument where Mozart will sound

the best.’

And then they choose Walter or Stein, which Mozart was writing pieces for.

Because when Mozart got this instrument, he tried it, he

improvised, and he created the best music which

could fit and sounded the most beautiful on these instruments.

So if we play it on something else, then it will sound disadvantaged, as Anton Rubinstein

was saying.

>> MALTZ: When I was first introduced to historic instruments as a young student, it was

presented in a way that seemed to say that this is an oddity and you shouldn't pay it

much attention.

So, historical music practice I think is sometimes looked down upon by modern piano

performers and easily dismissed.

Do you see a world in which historical performance becomes

at equal footing with modern performance practice?

>> MCNULTY: As much as they may claim as a person who rather dismisses these

early instruments, but yet claims to be in some

sympathy with the composerthey're closing a door, which is unfortunate, that they shouldn't


There comes upon a musician a profound difference with this exposure and with some

exploration into the taste and the practicalities.

So how do you create a sound, you know?

These are big questions which are answered necessarily in a different way because the

instrument is so wildly different to the Steinway people grew up on.

So to, as a matter of convenience, to dismiss a whole galaxy of

the sound spectrum

And, in any other way that you can connect the validity of an instrument

to its music is, I think maybe that idea is a bit out of

date, you know?

MALTZ: Yeah, absolutely.

Thanks for watching.

Please subscribe and be sure to join the conversation in the comments.

This video was an excerpt from Classical Cake, op. 5 – “The Art of Building a Fortepiano.”

Visit for more.

Im Daniel Adam Maltz.

Bis zum nächsten Mal.

[Music playing]

The Description of Fortepianos: The Right Tool for the Music