Piano Street Magazine

Piano Played by Mozart Discovered in Germany

August 10th, 2010 in Piano News by | 5 comments

An early piano believed to have been played by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has surfaced in Germany and could be worth millions of euros, a radio station reported.

Public broadcaster SWR said the instrument was built in 1775 and acquired in the 1980s by piano manufacturer Martin Becker in the southern German city of Baden-Baden from an antiques dealer in Strasbourg, eastern France. When Becker decided to auction off the fortepiano, a music historian noticed the offer and “had a hunch that it could be the same long-lost instrument that Mozart played whenever he was in Strasbourg,” SWR said. “I had the idea to offer it on (online auction site) eBay and maybe get between 30,000 and 40,000 euros for it,” Becker told the radio station.

A historic oil painting in Vienna shows the composer Joseph Haydn, a Mozart contemporary, playing what may be the same instrument. The fortepiano, built by Christian Baumann, is one of eight known examples. Mozart was known to be a fan of Baumann’s work, SWR said. SWR said auction house Christie’s confirmed the piano’s provenance in 2003, but a company spokesman told AFP that its US-based musical instrument specialists had never examined it. Experts said the piano could be worth millions if its illustrious pedigree is established.

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  • melissa says:

    If it really is a piano mozart played it could be worth a lot just for this very reason. But it is surpirsing really that the price mentioned is 30 000 or more before this was believed. Are these old pianos really worth that much money? Can they still be in playable condition?

  • andrew says:

    yes, 18th century flugel-shaped fortepianos in intact condition (playing or not) are worth real money thesedays. Its very difficult to attribute a particular instrument to Mozart unless the provenance of the instrument can be precisely established. What the dealer is hoping is that some fool will convince themselves that the instrument is a holy relic. Unfortunately the auction houses will aid and abet him in this. It is just as likely that M composed using a square piano by the same maker.

  • Maayan says:

    How can they tell whether it really Mozart’s piano?
    Do they have proofs?

  • 46streicher says:

    Yes, these old pianos can be restored to beautiful playing condition, if they haven’t been ruined by someone trying to “restore” them who thinks that means replacing the soundboard and all the moving parts with new material.

    If the strings are replaced with the historically appropriate wire, and the hammers are covered with the proper buckskin or chamois, and the action is regulated according to the original specifications, the piano should sound beautiful.

    My personal feeling is that any early piano should be respected for what it is, and lovingly – and KNOWLEDGEABLY restored to playing condition as a means of connecting with and understanding the music of its time, never mind who played it when it was new.

  • Thank you for all the great news that you provide in your site…I`m “english”music teacher in Villa Devoto School in Argentina, and all your news are very interesting to show it to my pupils in computing on a big screen…They love it and it makes me feel a bridge between the great history of music. By the way I have a lot of photos from 4 different Musical Instruments`s Museum around the world and my idea is to make a great Instruments`s Photo ALBUM
    and with your comments you increase my knowledge….!!!!
    Regards from Argentina!
    Count on me in case you need me or my photos,
    Yours sincerely
    PATRICIA MOTTA http://www.patriciamotta.com.ar

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