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I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano #2868921 07/13/19 07:09 AM
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PM7 Offline OP
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Hello, I've got a problem.

I'm an owner of a grand piano, most likely of the Vienna system. The piano has been built between 1850 and 1865 by Jan Kerntopf- a Polish manufacturer who won eg Grand Prix in Paris 1889 and Grand Prix in Geneve 1927 (exp. intern. de la musique Geneve). The manufacturer also helped the young Ignacy Jan Paderewski- when Paderewski was accepted for studying at a conservatoire in Warsaw, Kerntops first offered the young Paderewski a grand piano for free, then they invited him to live at their house, for the time of his studies. Later on, it was actually Paderewski's idea to send Kerntopf's pianos for exhibition in Paris, as Kerntopf himself wasn't sure if they were good enough.

The problem is, that my piano is not in the best of shape. Another problem a co-owner of the house where the piano stands, he wants to sell the house, and I won't be able to store the piano if that happens.
I wanted to donate the piano to the local conservatoire, as they have a department of historical piano performance, but they refused to take it because it requires renovation. I talked to a person who owns a renovated piano from the era, and it turns out, I can't afford to renovate it. I talked to people from the branch, but they tell me that museums and other cultural institutions all around Poland are highly reluctant to take pianos, even for free.
Any ideas what can I do about it? Do you think that there might be an institution elsewhere that would be interested in preserving it?

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Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: PM7] #2868922 07/13/19 07:53 AM
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Is there a Paderewski museum anywhere in Poland ?
Make sure they know the history of the piano.
There is a wonderful keyboard museum in Paris
which also has quite a collection of pianos including pianos belonging to Chopin and Liszt.Of course Paris
is rather far from Poland.
Someone who loves music and history and who has space to keep the instrument perhaps is your best hope.Best wishes to you and your piano.

Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: PM7] #2868966 07/13/19 11:14 AM
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People are reluctant to take old pianos that need restoration anywhere in the world, I am afraid.


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Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: PM7] #2868987 07/13/19 12:13 PM
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If you were in the USA, I would point you at the North Bennett Street School. Students attending there back when my friends were there worked on restoring project pianos - 1 upright and 1 grand per group of 4 students (might be more or less...).

Among those instruments were instruments of historical significance. I had a chance to play a restored Pleyel there as well as a Chickering.

So... if you're in Poland, you might check with the piano technician schools in Germany. You might even advertise it FREE as a project piano.

Somebody is bound to be interested in it, or so I believe.

Finally, if all else fails, PM me here on PW if you like, and I will forward information to some of my German pianist colleagues with connections to piano technicians.


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Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: PM7] #2869001 07/13/19 01:33 PM
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You say that your piano is not in the best of shape. Can you be more specific?

Does it hold its tuning? Can it be played with pleasure? Are there specific problems that you are aware of?

Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: PM7] #2869022 07/13/19 03:06 PM
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You might want to look at this website. It's in both English and Polish (I'm assuming you are in Poland). It lists all the places in Poland that have historic piano collections. Maybe one of them might be interested in your piano. (Click on the link below to navigate to the website.)

The Piano in Polish Collections


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Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: Seeker] #2869049 07/13/19 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by AaronSF
You might want to look at this website. It's in both English and Polish (I'm assuming you are in Poland). It lists all the places in Poland that have historic piano collections. Maybe one of them might be interested in your piano. (Click on the link below to navigate to the website.)

The Piano in Polish Collections



Yes, I know the page.
I've sent an e-mail the association that runs it, as well as I'm either trying to contact or contacting several museums and other institutions, but the pianists and tuners out here whom I know, say it's unlikely to be promising.

Originally Posted by David-G
You say that your piano is not in the best of shape. Can you be more specific?


Yes. It's in bad shape. The sound board seems intact and the frame is ok. but otherwise nothing works properly and requires either repairs or replacement. The only good thing except that it doesn't look too bad and the board is intact, is that the piano is complete.

Originally Posted by Seeker

So... if you're in Poland, you might check with the piano technician schools in Germany. You might even advertise it FREE as a project piano.

Somebody is bound to be interested in it, or so I believe.


That's an interesting idea. Do you know how can I contact them?

Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: PM7] #2934240 01/15/20 12:37 PM
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Refresh.

So the situation hasn't changed much, at least it seems the house isn't going to be sold after all, but I'm like the only one who does anything to conserve this piano, and at the end of this years I'm leaving the place, so I'd like to have this thing sorted.

A few new options have turned up since that last time, but none of them seems very promising. So if you have any ideas, please don't hesitate to write them here.

Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: PM7] #2934570 01/16/20 04:17 AM
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I am afraid that there is no real market for historical fortepianos that need restoring. Most institutions that make use of instruments from that time either have an already well restored instrument or they have access to a rental instrument for concerts or recordings. Very few piano makers are experienced enough to faithfully restore instruments from that time and those that do usually have their own collection already and also have many instruments in storage that await restoration. Her in Vienna I can easily get you hundreds of fortepianos from the 19th century for free or very little money, some of them even in a really playable state. People want to get rid of these instruments and very fw want to buy one.

The suggestion about piano technician schools in Germany will not work, because there is no such central institution. There is only the master academy in Ludwigsburg - and they have easy access to fortepianos that need restoring anyway.

This may sound cruel to you, but your best bet is probably to find a furniture/cabinet maker who takes interest in the wood and maybe can use it as material for a new piece of furniture, but it's fair to assume that he won't be willing to pay you anything fro the instrument itself, because as it is it has little to no value.

Sorry.

Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: OE1FEU] #2935687 01/18/20 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by OE1FEU

This may sound cruel to you, but your best bet is probably to find a furniture/cabinet maker who takes interest in the wood and maybe can use it as material for a new piece of furniture, but it's fair to assume that he won't be willing to pay you anything fro the instrument itself, because as it is it has little to no value.

Sorry.


Are you kidding me? If I wanted to destroy a historical instrument, I'd have done that myself!
The fact that the name doesn't tell you anything, doesn't mean it's an instrument without history, and If I just wanted to get rid of it, it would have already been standing the nearby museum, witho ZERO chance to be ever restored!

Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: PM7] #2935693 01/18/20 11:23 AM
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If someone had an old car that needed a lot of work and money to be functional again would you take it?

Your piano is no different, just moving it requires a lot of effort(time and money).

The fact that people are not interested in your piano should tell you something.

If the piano has any sentimental value to you OE1 suggestion is a good one.

The piano's value as you found out is negative at this point.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: Learux] #2935740 01/18/20 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Learux
If someone had an old car that needed a lot of work and money to be functional again would you take it?

Your piano is no different, just moving it requires a lot of effort(time and money).


Actually old unique cars are often taken out of scrapyards and repaired by enthusiasts. Bettery yet, most often they don't even have to be unique.

Originally Posted by Learux


The piano's value as you found out is negative at this point.



Its not a piece of modern furniture you bought at IKEA yesterday and dropped it, whilst market value has never either been discussed either concerned by me.

Last edited by PM7; 01/18/20 01:10 PM.
Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: PM7] #2935749 01/18/20 01:23 PM
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Nobody is telling you not to keep it and fix it yourself. You are the one who wants somebody else to do it. It is up to you to find the means to do it.


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Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: PM7] #2935758 01/18/20 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Learux


The piano's value as you found out is negative at this point.



Its not a piece of modern furniture you bought at IKEA yesterday and dropped it, whilst market value has never either been discussed either concerned by me.


I think you fail to understand that for you to get rid of it you will have to pay someone to haul it off.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: BDB] #2935772 01/18/20 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Learux
[
I think you fail to understand that for you to get rid of it you will have to pay someone to haul it off.


You fail to understand that such remarks make sense only when you teach your 3 years-old children how things are.

Go on insulting someone else.

Originally Posted by BDB
Nobody is telling you not to keep it and fix it yourself. You are the one who wants somebody else to do it. It is up to you to find the means to do it.


I was just asking for ideas, if you haven't noticed.

Re: I need to do something with my mid XIXth century piano [Re: PM7] #2935796 01/18/20 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by PM7
Originally Posted by OE1FEU

This may sound cruel to you, but your best bet is probably to find a furniture/cabinet maker who takes interest in the wood and maybe can use it as material for a new piece of furniture, but it's fair to assume that he won't be willing to pay you anything fro the instrument itself, because as it is it has little to no value.

Sorry.


Are you kidding me? If I wanted to destroy a historical instrument, I'd have done that myself!
The fact that the name doesn't tell you anything, doesn't mean it's an instrument without history, and If I just wanted to get rid of it, it would have already been standing the nearby museum, witho ZERO chance to be ever restored!


I think you're letting your emotional attachment to this particular instrument affect how you react to sensible things people are saying to you.

From what you've said, this particular instrument is historical only because of its age, not because this exact piano was Paderewski's personal instrument in 1910. By the way, Paderewski had a habit of signing the soundboard of pianos he used. The music department at my university has (or had) such an instrument. It too was in pretty bad shape, and it was just taking up space in a professor's studio. It had little to no market value. Restoring it would have cost a small fortune, and unless the restoration was done by people skilled in hand building 19th century components the end product is a modern instrument ... i.e. valueless as history.


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