Pianoforte Conrad Graf, Vienna, 1817

Bartolomeo Cristofori built his first fortepiano in Italy in 1698, but it was the German Gottfried Silbermann who made the instrument more popular in the first half of the 18th century. In the second half of the 18th century, Johann Andreas Stein from Augsburg achieved fame when he invented the German Prell mechanic and the knee-levers for the dampers. At the end of the 18th century, Gabriel Anton Walter developed the Stein action into a more advanced “Viennese action”. Conrad Graf is generally considered to be the greatest fortepiano maker of his time. Nearly every major performer has played on his instruments: Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Brahms, Schuman and many others. Graf was born in 1782 in Riedlingen (Wurttemberg). Shortly before 1800, he moved to Vienna. In 1811, he received permission to construct keyboard instruments there. He had a large-scale production spanning a period of 30 years, and by the time that he sold his company to Carl Stein in 1841, he had constructed 3000 pianos. The Chris Maene fortepiano is a replica of an original Conrad Graf instrument from the ‘Chris Maene Museum Collection’ in Ruiselede. This original is considered to be one of the most unique instruments known by this famous fortepiano builder. Because of the fact that is was built around 1817, it is most likely to be the oldest remaining original Conrad Graf pianoforte that survived through the ages.

 

Technical data:

  • Compass: CC - f4
  • Dimensions: L 230 cm / W 123 cm
  • Case: mahogany
  • Keyboard: naturals in bone tops, sharps in ebony
  • Action: Viennese Prell action/hammers in leather
  • Pedals: 6