grand piano

photo: Waldemar Kielichowski © Institute of Music and Dance, Warsaw

"Tobias Koch plays Polish Romantic Music - making off" © The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

grand piano

Classification: 3 Chordophones / 31 Simple chordophones or zithers / 314 Board zithers / 314.1 True board zithers / 314.1-4-8 True board zithers sounded by hammers or beaters, with keyboard

Piano maker: Pleyel

Date: 1848

Village / Town: Paris

Country: France

Owner: Fryderyk Chopin Institute since 1967. Chopin’s last piano, later owned in turns by Jane Stirling, Chopin’s sister Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa and her heirs, and the National Museum in Warsaw

Inventory number: M/87

Description: rosewood veneered. Straight-, double-, triple-strung, composite frame with four metal stress bars crosswisely connected, English grand repetition action with overdampers

Inscriptions: on the keyboard cover a square lime plate: Medailles d’Or 1827, 1834, 1839 et 1844 / Ignace Pleyel & Compie. / Facteur de Pianos / No 20 Rue Rochechouart PARIS; on the left side of the soundboard and in many places pressed: 14810; on the hitch pin block inked by hand: pour Louise; on the action frame to the left: SCML / 4837; under the hammer rail on a paper strip pencilled: Peter Jon (?); on the key lever A1 illegible signature pencilled, on the hammer rail tone marking and in ink: Bugerelle [?] 1469; on the left inside the keyboard table pressed: 14810 / PFISTEB; engraved on a brass octagonal plate fastened to the case cover inside: Ce piano a été pendant deux ans en la possession de / FRÉDÉRICK CHOPIN. / à Paris / d’abord Cour d’Orleans No 9, rue S Lazare, ensuite / rue de Chaillot, 74 et enfin Place Vendôme No 12 / Jusqu’au jour de sa mort / (17 OCTOBRE 1849) / C’est le dernier Instrument qu’il a touché / et sur lequel il a composé; on the casing’s right flank inside a wax seal with tsar’s eagle and Cyrillic inscription: ВАРШАВСКОЙ ТАМОЖ[ЕННЫЙ] ТРАНЗИТ [Warsaw Customs Transit – most probably sealed when the instrument was brought to Poland by Chopin’s sister in 1850]

Measurements: height 325 (920), width 1290, depth 2050 mm

Materials: wood, metal, ivory

Keyboard compass, stops: C1-a4 – 6⅔ octaves, two pedals – una corda and dampers

Catalog card by: Benjamin Vogel

Bibliography: R. Wieczorek, ‘Pleyel’, Encyklopedia muzyczna PWM, ed. E. Dziębowska, vol. [8]: pe–r  (Kraków, 2004), pp. 131–33; J. Jude, Pleyel 17571857. La passion d’un siècle, (Centre Loire, 2008), pp. 206, 265–267; Ch. Timbrell, ‘Pleyel, Ignace-Joseph (et Cie)’, Encyclopedia of Keyboard Instruments, vol. 1: The Piano, ed. R. Palmieri, (New York & London, 1994), pp. 296–97

Michał Kleofas Ogiński (1765-1833), Polonaise in A minor Farewell to the Homeland, 1794, Tobias Koch, Pleyel 1848 © The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

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