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Pre 1800 fortepianos


Fortepianos of this era are the most sought after. Beyond being older and high value of their antiquarity point, for us musicians they are very important for they give us more idea of the music of a remote era.


They are mostly in a less good condition in comparison to the later pianos. One reason is because for instance 1777 piano has lived of course 50 years more than a 1827 piano but also in 1827 pianos were made more robust and massive but in 1770s or 1780s still very fragile.


Many of them were made in areas like in south Germany and north Italy where there was nothing like mass products (as it was in a decade later in England was) they were made one by one by the hands of great craftsmen who sometimes even didn't necessarily sign their instruments with beautiful porcelain and bezel or painting their name with flowers etc. so their names are not known to us and most of their quality works are also lost in horrible situations in the history, like the very long exhausting French revolution or 2 bloody world-wars where people had to save their own lives rather thinking of preserving historical pianos which were not playable and were just at the corner as a decoration...




In Radbon collection you can find some historically important fortepianos which are also very practical for the music of pre 1800. For instance Johannes Zumpe 1777 which is almost the same as the one made for Johann Christian Bach who gave the first piano recital in London 10 years earlier in 1767. Till 1779 Zumpe square pianos did not change in seize or design. The other very old and practical piano is the Carlo Arnoldi grand which is suitable for the music of Italians like Platti and Cimarosa and Germans like C.Ph.E Bach, Benda but also Mozart with its several stops (Klangänderungen) and bare wooden hammers. There are 2 special square pianos in playing condition in the style of Stein fortepianos (with wooden Kapsels and light charming sound) and Walter type (with brass Kapels and having very cantabile quality which suits not only Mozart but also up to 1800 music of Beethoven and contemporaries).

A very rare and lovely early french square piano by Mercken who was the first whoever made fortepianos in France! whose instruments became a model for Erard. Mercken was just like Zumpe in England.

Both were immigrant Germans and both made pianos with simple Stoss action very similar in design!


A very special piano in this collection is the anon. square piano which dates back to 1760s or maybe earlier (we can not say that for sure)  is the oldest piano in this collection! please take a look at the first piano listed above.


Other very special instruments of this period in the collection are Pantalon and Clavecin royale with bare wooden hammers and several stops but also the 4 octave clavichord and the lovely Italian square piano with short octaves made by Luigi Barbieri in Bologna.You will find more information about all of these instruments by finding them on their own individual page on this website.Datas and photos will be updated monthly.


It is in the future plans to aquire copies of Cristofori and Silbermann pianos.For the first step the Tangentenflügel was made by me from the body of a fortepiano that was made 15 years ago by an Italian harpsichord maker and was never finished. It was very suitable make finish it with tangent piano action so I gave it the goal and it is also presented in the collection. You can find it under the ''other keyboard instruments'' on this website.


So I am happy to be able to present a wide range of different fortepianos of the most important capitals of piano making in Europe in 18th century but also rare but highly important pianos of less known makers which also enlighten us to the variety of sounds of fortepianos in that golden age!

W.A Mozart

Vienna in 18th century

J. Haydn

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