Pianoforte Anton Walter, Vienna, 1795

Bartolomeo Cristofori built his first fortepiano in Italy in 1698, but it was Germany with Gottfried Silbermann who made the pianoforte more popular in the first half of the 18th century. In the second half of the 18th century, Johann Andreas Stein from Augsburg was very famous 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”. Anton Walter (1752-1826) made organs, harpsichords and fortepianos. When Vienna became an important pianocentre in Europe, he moved to Vienna to develop his business. Five octave instruments were common in this period, and Walter was considered as the most famous fortepiano maker of his time. Many composers and artists admired his instruments, such as Mozart: he bought a Walter in 1782 and used it until his death in 1791. The Chris Maene fortepiano is a replica of the Anton Walter in the “Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg”. As the original, it has a very light touch, an improved repetition with leather hammers, and dampers.

Technical data:

  • Compass: FF - g3
  • Dimensions: L 219 cm / W 98 cm
  • Case: pyramid mahogany, hand polished
  • Keyboard: naturals in ebony, sharps in bone tops
  • Action: Viennese with brass capstans/hammers and dampers in leather
  • Kneelevers: damping, moderator