Denzil Wraight - Italian Keyboard Instruments


This instrument is based on the Anton Walter fortepiano (Hammerflügel) in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, no. MINe 109, which Michael Latcham has recently dated as c.1800 (previously a date of c.1795 had been given in the literature). My version was created for Emilia Fadini using yew veneer with maple strings.

A fortepiano after Anton Walter made with yew veneer and maple strings

The compass is FF-g³ with the moderator stop and damper lifting operated by knee levers. In contrast to many of the earlier Viennese actions, Walter incorporated a check and this improves the repetition. Walter used triple stringing in the treble, thereby making the tone stronger here because many instruments are weak in this area. Since his hammerheads had larger dimensions than many earlier instruments the tone became rounder and less like the harpsichord which was its predecessor. At this stage of development the Viennese tonal concept was coming closer to the rounder, less metallic tone pioneered by Cristofori 100 years earlier. Further information on Cristofori's approach.

Dimensions: 2210 mm (87") × 1013 mm (39.9") × 273 mm (10.7")

Serendipitous formations in the growth of wood sometimes yield surprising results, such as the animal-like heads which appeared in laying up the yew veneer, as seen here on the nameboard!

A view of the animal head on the nameboard formed by patterns in the yew veneer

The Walter fortepiano can be heard on a CD by Emilia Fadini, Scarlatti as chosen by Clementi, which is vol. 5 of the complete Scarlatti sonatas series appearing from Stradivarius.
Cover page of the CD 'Scarlatti as chosen by Clementi'
Stradivarius STR 33618.

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page updated 24 October 2005