Carlo Arnoldi Trentino in Roma ca.1770
5 octaves FF - f'''
Stossmechanik without escapement
4 Klangänderungen (sound effects!)
2 kneelevers for divided dampers lifting - piano stop - harp stop
(except of the dampers lift, the harp and pianos stops are addition according to the
ca.1770 styles of fortepianos and tangent pianos in Italy and central Europe)
This amazing fortepiano is one of the jewels of this collection!
This is one of the 4 known fortepianos of this maker and of this kind!
One of them was sold in the USA 20 years ago, the other one is in original musical
instruments museum in Rome and a too short grand in Veneri collection in Italy.
After Cristofori's death his pupil Ferrini (and very few others) continued to make
fortepianos in Italy, Portugal and also Germany. Silbermann and Helen made
fortepianos in German harpsichord case style but with exactly the same action as
Cristofori. Another example is the great fortepiano and harpsichord maker Friederici
in Gera from whom are 2 upright fortepianos surviving. One in Brussels and one in
Goethehaus in Frankfurt which belonged to Goethe himself! (Probably Leopold
Mozart had a double manual Friederici too)
The action that Cristofori made just before 1700 and was the norm for several decades,
was simplified to some extent by makers like Friederici (his Brussels fortepiano) and
Zumpe (Silberman's pupil who made the first pianos in England from whom you can find
a 1777 square piano in this collection) but also our Carlo Arnoldi and probably a few
more in those early decades of mid 18th century.
Friederici in 1745, Zumpe in 1767 and Arnoldi probably from 1760s or 1770s were
making the so called Stossmechanik derived by Cristofori but in a much simpler version!
It means that the action has no lever and no escapement.
In Vienna people like Kober and probably even Anton Walter (we are not sure about
Walter's case) and several more makers still made Stossmechanik but with escapement
and without lever.
Another similar action in similar case (Stein style, like the Arnoldi) is found and
preserved in Greifenberger Institute near Munich.
Also Taskin made fortepianos with same action but of course with his own design
in Paris even in 1787 on a grand piano.
Although in the 1780s not only English square pianos but also Pantalons, Clavecin
royales and German, French and even some Italian square pianos had this action
...so this early grand piano which also looks like a Stein or as Henckel said about it
(20 years ago when it was still in Beuermann collection) that its body is similar to
the Tangentenflügel in Deutsches Museum Munich) can be a very good choice for
also Mozart's music specially works from his childhood to 1777.
So we are lucky that still some of them are preserved for some reason and even some of them has had minor alterations or are structurally very good and healthy condition.
Even if in a case like in Arnoldi ca.1770, 95% of hammers are missing or the whole dampers lost...one still can save such a marvelous instrument from being forgotten and ignoration.
When I purchased it, it had a set of new hammers that were at least 1 gram heavier than they were allowed to be! How I could say they are allowed to be around 1,6 grams? from the string gauges that were a correct for a fortepiano in that seize and scaling. So I had to adopt the shape of the few original hammers and experiment all other factors until I get a not only good but pleasing sound.
So experiments based on reading, thinking, consultations and discussion and retrying were done within a whole year and finally the piano is ready to play! I believe on these important antique instruments one should always think of reusing them (making them playable) but also think the same time of conservation. It means, when it is not necessary no big surgery or operation should be done! This piano is twisted more than a bit and its soundboard in the treble and in tenor and even bass has swelling cracks. In the past someone has tried to repair it a bit from below but luckily has not gone too far. I left it as it is and despite all of that there is not a problem or weakness in the sound or noises etc.