The Viennese piano was a special breed. Its design was different from other pianos. Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven cherished the classical Viennese piano for its pure, transparent sound, its extraordinary palette of colors, and—most of all—for its exquisite sensitivity to the most personal and expressive touch of the performer.
As makers responded to new styles and technology, the piano’s range of notes grew, its size and power increased. But even as it evolved throughout the 19th century, the Viennese piano retained its celebrated richness of timbre, clarity of sound, and glorious expressivity. Schubert, Brahms, and Mahler all loved and wrote for the instrument.
Context’s 22nd Season features our world-class collection of rare original Viennese pianos, by the greatest makers, in concerts that span the rich century of stylistic innovation from Haydn to Schoenberg. We’ll present towering masterpieces and unusual finds, illuminated by the kinds of instruments the composers’ first audiences would have heard.
At the center of our celebration will be the ‘Vaughn’ Graf piano. Conrad Graf was the most celebrated Viennese builder of his time. He built this magnificent instrument around 1826—about the same time he made a piano for Beethoven! Our exceptionally well-preserved instrument has been painstakingly restored to original condition. We believe it may be the finest performing Graf in the world. Three concerts will feature this peerless instrument; other concerts will highlight our important and beautiful 19th-century pianos by Rosenberger and Bösendorfer.
As always, you can expect to hear
- brilliant musicians from the U.S. and Europe playing the best instruments for each era
- engaging comments about the music and its context
- in an intimate hall of superior acoustics where you’ll be close to the stage
- at 4 pm on Sunday afternoons.
Join us for a Century of Romance!
Brian Connelly, piano
CONTEXT is a one-of-a-kind ensemble devoted to the presentation of music from a wide range of styles and eras. Stylistically enlightened performances, historically appropriate instruments, and innovative programming combine to place compositions in their musical context.