Liszt's practice keyboard?

Ask questions on piano history and the age of your piano.

Moderators: Feg, Gill the Piano, Bill Kibby

Post Reply
Kelpie
New Member
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: 15 Aug 2016, 19:37

Liszt's practice keyboard?

Post by Kelpie » 15 Aug 2016, 20:32

IMG_7597.JPG
Little keyboard
I've landed here in this forum thanks to a visit from a wonderful elderly lady I see once a week with friends for coffee and a chat.
"I've got Liszt's piano in my car could you come and take a look?" If it had been anyone but Solveig then I would have had serious doubts as to their mental health status.. but it WAS Solveig and so I wandered over to have a look. I hasten to add - I know nothing about pianos.. I wish I could play, I own a square one (wooden framed) but I also own a computer and she is thinking of selling. I'm aware that no valuations are given here so on Solveigs behalf I'm wondering where to turn to and if somebody can offer some more information as to age etc.
When I reached her car I was handed a well worn box containing a short keyboard. According to what Solveig was told this was bought from Liszt's estate and the story goes he used it to practice while travelling to concerts. The original buyer sold it on and then it ended up with Solveig. Both previous owners are now dead and there appears to be no confirming paperwork. Personally I would have expected something a bit more ornate or higher quality but there it is. Apparently she was once offered the equivalent to £500 from an antique dealer (we live in Sweden) So, there's no provenance - but just the notion that I could have Liszt's silent keyboard nearby is so bizarre I can't help asking is this at all possible? On a more practical note - If she does decide to try and sell this what should it actually be called? ' practice keyboard?' and are there any suggestions as to possible age? I can find no markings on it at all.. finally is Ebay the best option? Thankyou for any advice given, Kelpie.

User avatar
Bill Kibby
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5282
Joined: 04 Jun 2003, 19:25
Location: East Anglia UK
Contact:

Re: Liszt's practice keyboard?

Post by Bill Kibby » 16 Aug 2016, 11:27

This is a difficult one because most of the normal piano features I would look for don't exist on this item. Certainly it is a practice keyboard, and although it resembles ones made in the early 1900s, the mouldings on the keyfronts are more like 1840s style, or even earlier. My guess would be around 1853, well within Liszt's lifetime.

I suppose the cynic in me would have to say that almost every piano that is said to have belonged to a famous composer or a monarch proves to be wrong, but it is an interesting thought.

Ebay is the easy option, but a really good auction house with good website facilities might be able to make more of it, so it is worth talking to them. The case is a quite functional, logical design, but you need an antiques expert to decide if there are any other furniture clues to its age.

I would be interested to hear about your square piano too.
Piano History Centre
http://pianohistory.info
Email bill@pianohistory.info
If you find old references or links on this site to pianogen.org, alter these to pianohistory.info

Kelpie
New Member
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: 15 Aug 2016, 19:37

Re: Liszt's practice keyboard?

Post by Kelpie » 29 Oct 2016, 14:16

My apologies for a very late 'Thank you' for your help regarding Solveig's little practice keyboard. I think she's dropped the notion of selling (or at least hasn't mentioned it again) but did add a little information regarding it's history. Apparently a concert pianist bought it from the Liszt estate in 1919 and brought it to Uppsala (Sweden) where it was auctioned during a house clearance in the 1980,s.
As for my square piano (Rädicker & Lunau) then as of today it's being moved to a new owner! In it's place is a newer (ca 1870 I've been told) square piano (August Hoffman) This as a result of me overhearing a conversation regarding it being destined to be scrapped by the end of the week as it had stood unwanted for a year at our local charity shop. I decided to keep the A. Hoffman and after a frantic search finally found a new owner for the Lunau.

User avatar
Colin Nicholson
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1829
Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
Contact:

Re: Liszt's practice keyboard?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 29 Oct 2016, 23:26

Practise keyboards are apparently called 'Virgils'
AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
http://www.aatuners.com
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

User avatar
Bill Kibby
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5282
Joined: 04 Jun 2003, 19:25
Location: East Anglia UK
Contact:

Re: Liszt's practice keyboard?

Post by Bill Kibby » 31 Oct 2016, 11:11

A.K.Virgil, New York, was only one of a number of makers of practice claviers.
Piano History Centre
http://pianohistory.info
Email bill@pianohistory.info
If you find old references or links on this site to pianogen.org, alter these to pianohistory.info

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests