Johann Bohack in Wien ca.1785

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This magnificent piano is one of the 4 pianos worldwide to have the most in common with Mozart's own piano by Walter, being the only one available for concerts and recordings. The other 3 are from Walter himself and are not restored or available.

Johann Bohack also mentioned in several sources as :

Johann Boháč,

Jan Křtitel Bohák

Johann Täufer Bohák

Johann Pohak

Johann Bohack was born in Neganitz/ Nechanicz /Nechanice (Bohemia) in 3rd of Jun 1755 and died on 14th of November 1805 Vorstadt Landstraße (3, Landstraßer Hauptstraße 19, Seidlgasse 41) in Vienna.

This address is only 15 minutes to walk from Mozart's house in Vienna. Being one of the 8-10 early Viennese piano makers makes it very well possible to imagine Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven visiting his workshop and playing on his pianos. The two latter composers have left several shreds of evidence for their visit to Bohack for they valued his quality work.

Haydn owned a Clavichord made by him in 1794 which is now in royal academy of music in London. It is said that Haydn composed his ''Creation'' on this clavichord and had it till his death. The credentials are signed, like by the famous dancer Fanny Elssler whose father was for many years the copyist of Joseph Haydn.

The other is from Anton Richter (formerly singer at the court of Prince Esterhazy)

 

Haydn's Bohack Clavichord's remarkable feature is its laminated soundboard (also called the ''Double soundboard'') which is probably following Carl Lemme's invention (also seen on some Krämer clavichords and some other German clavichords of the late 18th and early 19th centuries). This Clavichord has suffered some modifications like the repositioning of tangents and even the bridge so that exact measurement of the resonating length of strings or striking points is difficult to measure.

 

Bohack was also addressed by Beethoven twice in 1802 and 1803 to Breitkopf & Härtel who were also dealers of Viennese pianos in Leipzig and to Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung in Leipzig. They must have asked Beethoven to recommend him from whom they should order and he recommends Bohack but also Moser.

He encloses a price list to the letter.

In 1800, Kaspar van Beethoven (Ludwig's brother) began working closely with Ludwig, serving as a part-time secretary and managing his business relations with music publishers.

On June 23, 1802 Kaspar Karl van Beethoven recommends Bokack's instruments to in a letter to the editor of the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung in Leipzig.

On November 23, 1803 Beethoven recommended to Breitkopf & Härtel to buy from Johann Bohack because of his (piano's) sound.

 

''...Uiberhaupt ist im Punkte der Musik nichts neues von einiger Bedeutung erschienen, wohl aber bessern sich einige Instrumentenmacher, worunter besonders Joh. Bohak der jetzt auf der Landstrafe wohnt sowohl wegen seiner guten dauerhaften netten Arbeit, als auch wegen seinen äuserst mittelmäsigen Preisen zu empfelen ist. ...''

 

...nothing special has happened in music (since then) but the piano makers are doing better especially Johann Bohack who lives now in Landstrasse and does a nice job in building pianos, being also durable instruments with fair prices whom I can recommend. ...''

 

 

 

Another letter To Breitkopf & Hdrtel, Leipzig [Autograph in the Beethovenhaus, Bonn, H. C. Bodmer collection] [VmNNA, November 23, 1803] '

''...Da Sie wünschen noch von anderen Instrumenten- machern Instrumente zu haben, so schlage ich Ihnen hier noch den Z. Pohak, dessen Arbeiten brav und dessen Preise und Arten Instrumente hier beigefügt sind, vor. ...''

 

''...Since you wish to have instruments from other manufacturers as well, I am suggesting to you also Herr Pohack , whose work is good and whose prices and types of instrument are enclosed in this letter. ...''

 

Bohack was also a pianist who learned music from his cousin, the famous Wanhal. He was also mentioned to be one of the few piano makers at the time who could also play nicely on his own pianos!

 

There are several organs which he restored or made in Austria but the only survived instruments are:

1-Haydn's clavichord which was altered too much

2-A ca.1803-4 portable square piano in Milano (I could finally find someone to take some photos of it for me!)

3-A very late 5 and half octave large fortepiano from ca.1804-5

4-Radbon Fortepiano Collection's ca.1785 Bohack grand piano