At the end of the 18th century, Vienna and London were the undisputed centres of piano-making, and home to distinct schools of piano-playing.
The beginning of the 19th century saw the rise of a new centre, Paris, which progressively eclipsed the other two. Nicknamed "Pianopolis", Paris in 1832 boasted more than a hundred and ninety-three piano-builders, many drawn from elsewhere in search of renown. Paris was a magnet, too, to young piano virtuosi ; it was only natural that Liszt and Chopin should be of their number.
What instruments did the young Chopin play on in his native Poland? What were the influences of the English and Viennese piano schools in his training? Who were the leading piano-makers in the Paris of 1832? What were the characteristics of Pleyel's pianos, and why did they suit Chopin so well? What were Chopin's compositional techniques?
The anwers to all these questions will be attempted during the fifth edition of the harmoniques International Congress in Lausanne, with the theme "Chopin's Era" ; numerous instruments from the period will provide the focus for musicians, musicologists, museum curators, instrument-makers and -restorers.
The event will take place in the Lausanne Conservatory, from the 9th to the 12th September 2010.
The originality of the event lies in its five principal axes :
A galaxy of excellent musicians will not only bring to life Chopin's first Parisian concert, but also present forgotten repertory of his time and allow the public to hear and compare many pianos from that epoch.
will be the scene of an interdisciplinary exchange between musicologists, musicians, instrument-makers and -restorers and museum curators.
As well as the traditional exhibition of keyboard instruments presented in the Conservatory's studios and played on during the guided tours, the Conservatory will host an exhibition of Chopin first editions published in France, England and Germany. A comparison of these editions will permit the public to appreciate the difficulties of pinning down Chopin's musical texts, the subject of intense work in progress.
A practical examination of the techniques and materials used by French piano-builders of Chopin's time to cover their hammers.
For children and their parents, the harmoniques International Congress proposes a tailor-made programme which promises discoveries for all...