(Pleyel Grand n° 59194 circa 1874) Maguelone, Paris, 2018
Pleyel concert grand circa 1874 (n° 59194)
There was no consensus regarding piano manufacturing in the 1870s. Unlike his competitor Érard, Pleyel had been impressed by Steinway's American modernism at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867. Following this discovery, he abandoned straight-strung design for his concert grand in 1869. Cross-stringing arrangement was not at all obvious at the time. In fact, Pleyel was still making upright and grand straight-strung pianos. The instrument of this recording represents the first concert grand cross-stringed Pleyel model, with a weaker overlapping compared to later models. This piano is otherwise made following traditional standards. It has a traditional assembled steel frame that is not made of cast iron. Its action includes two escapement levers with ivory leafsprings. A few years later, Pleyel will replace it by the Érard double escapement action. Abandoned in a Parisian-area home, this beautiful instrument was only produced for a short time by Pleyel. Halfway between straight-strung and cast-iron frame pianos, it shows a French manufacturing which is proud of its heritage while adopting a foreign modernism.
Ziad Kreidy, Paris, June 2017.