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Home Special Projects Graf Fortepiano

Graf Fortepiano

n. 1092 (1826)

Restored in 2005 by Edwin Beunk
Montepulciano, Palazzo Contucci, Salone delle Feste
Available in situ for recordings
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The fortepianos built in Vienna by Conrad Graf are unanimously considered milestones along the course of the development of the piano; there are only about 200 left, of the 3,000 or so instruments made in the Graf factory before 1840.
One of these, number 1,092 from 1826, belongs to the Contucci family in Montepulciano and has never been moved from the Salone delle Feste, decorated in fresco by Andrea Pozzo in 1702, in their Renaissance palace, designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder during the first half of the 16th century.
Thanks to this rare state of nearly bicentennial permanence the instrument can be described, in the true sense of the phrase, as perfectly preserved - with all its original parts.
Members of the Contucci family have been famous over centuries for producing excellent wine but have also cultivated and supported culture and the arts in varying ways, particularly music. It was only natural then that they should decide a few of years ago to bring this antique instrument back to public life. In 2005, almost 180 years after its arrival in Tuscany, the Conrad Graf 1,092 crossed the threshold of Palazzo Contucci for only the second time, to be comprehensively and sensitively restored in Holland by Edwin Beunk, the most famous fortepiano restorer in the world. The piano’s return home was suitably celebrated in September-October 2005 by the world-famous fortepianist Malcom Bilson, who gave two concerts on the “Contucci” Graf and also used it as the focal point of a master-class.
Since then the Contucci family has organized the occasional top-level and highly unusual artistic event to bring together the culture of wine, music, painting and architecture.
In 2009 the family decided to inject new life into its Conrad Graf and make it available for recording sessions to be held in the Salone delle Feste in Palazzo Contucci. The first CD was of early music by Chopin, made in collaboration with Polish Institute in Rome. It features the fortepianist Costantino Mastroprimiano and was issued in 2010 under the Dutch label Brilliant Classics for the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth (CD Brilliant Classics 94066).
Following this the soprano Eleonora Contucci and Costantino Mastroprimiano made a world premiere recording with a fortepiano of the Lieder of Norbert Burgmüller (1810-1836) and a world premiere recording of the Lieder of Hugo Staehle (1826-1848) for two CDs released in 2013 and 2014 by Brilliant Classics (CD 94244 and CD 94492).

Foto Fortepiano