‘Mozart’s piano’ discovered in Germany
Posted Thu Aug 5, 2010 2:29pm AEST
An early piano believed to have been played by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has surfaced in Germany and could be worth millions.
Public broadcaster SWR reports the instrument was built in 1775 and acquired in the 1980s by piano manufacturer Martin Becker in the southern German city of Baden-Baden from an antiques dealer in Strasbourg, eastern France.
When Mr Becker decided to auction the fortepiano, a music historian noticed the offer and “had a hunch it could be the same long-lost instrument Mozart played whenever he was in Strasbourg”, SWR said.
“I had the idea to offer it on eBay and maybe get between 30,000 and 40,000 euros for it,” Mr Becker told the radio station.
A historic oil painting in Vienna shows composer Joseph Haydn – a Mozart contemporary – playing what appears to be the same instrument.
The fortepiano, built by Christian Baumann, is one of eight known examples.
Mozart was said to be a fan of Baumann’s work.
SWR said auction house Christie’s confirmed the piano’s provenance in 2003 but a company spokesman said its US-based musical instrument specialists had never examined it.
The piano could be worth millions if its illustrious pedigree is established.