Past meetings of the Society
November 2003

November 2003, Meeting

Date: Saturday, November 15
Time: 1:00 PM

Frederick Historic Piano Collection
15 Water Street (Corner of Main Street)
Ashburnham MA 01430
(978) 827-6232


Take a look:

Featured Guests: Piano Museum Curator

Subject: Frederick Historic Piano Collection (located at the historic piano education center)

The Frederick Collection of Period Grand Pianos includes sixteen or more original pianos in playing condition; specifically, the sorts of pianos known to important composers from about 1790 to 1907. At present, there is no comparable collection of period, playing grand pianos in the United States. Most museum collections that include pianos focus on their decorative appearance rather than their musical value. The following points clarify the purpose of the Collection.

Until around World War I, piano design was constantly changing. Piano design changes reflect not only shifts in musical taste, but also ideals of technical perfection rooted as much in the Industrial Revolution as in music.

Every composer wrote for the pianos he knew, capitalizing on particular musical effects available from those instruments. The same music played on a significantly different instrument will have a different sound, and not necessarily one the composer would have preferred.

To hear and/or play the piano literature on an instrument such as it was conceived for, is to discover important features of the music. Effects unavailable on the standard modern piano (bass/treble balance, clarity of bass tone, tone-color changes over the dynamic range) become evident, enriching one's appreciation and enjoyment of the music.

To do the tour right they suggest planning three hours. In the winter they keep the temperature down (50) and the humidity up to keep the pianos in better tune, so you should dress very warmly. Since this museum is a labor of love done on a shoestring, they would appreciate a small donation to help with their operating expenses -- something on the order of $5-10 per person. This visit would be a special treat for someone who loves classical pianos and piano music.


The Boston Audio Society
PO BOX 260211
Boston MA 02126

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updated 11/11/04