Jun 19, 2011

Martin Dalheimer

Some day I found in the internet researching on square-pianos a remarkable post:

Somebody played "Recuerdos della Alhambra" of Francisco Tarrega - on a Broadwood square piano from 1830.
I knew this were impossible, as the escapement should prohibit such rapid repetition, or at least I suspected.

But I listened:

I had to find out why this were possible, apart from the fact I like Recuerdos very much and so I researched, sent some messages and received a kind reply most quickly. We had some contacts by mail and telephone and after easter 2010 I dropped in at his house returning from Italy.

We spent some hours as I neglected the fact I had to return home soon and I found out that he had regulated his piano in his very personal way, this way avoiding the escapement would prevent very, very rapid repetitions. I came home very late by night having to work in the morning ...

Some months later they came to visit us. But that is worth a different story.

First I would like to give you the link on broadwood1830

and on the Homepage of Martin Dalheimer

Following here I post some links on Martin , possibly quoting the original comments

Martin Dalheimer is playing the Erard Grand in the Church of Eutin. Eutin was the birthplace of Carl Maria von Weber. He is very well known for his opera "Der Freischütz" but his less known piano-pieces are filled with beauty, virtuosity and technical raffinesse.

Chopin Opus 72 c-moll
Martin Dalheimer is playing one of Prof Beurmanns famous pianos in Hasselburg. It is a Hüni and Hübert made in 1860 in Zürich.

Martin Dalheimer is playing Chopin Opus 9 No 3 on a historical grand from 1860 of Prof. Andreas Beurmanns collection. It's a Hüni and Hübert from the wellknown Zürich pianomaker.

Martin Dalheimer is playing a Broadwood grand from 1841 in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg. The collection there includes about 400 pianos and cembali inclusive the Andreas Beurmann pianos. This broadwood grand belongs to Max Matthias and is dated to 1841.
Martin Dalheimer is playing.
1. Chopin Opus 72 e-moll
2. ChopinOpus Posthum cis-moll
3. ChopinOpus 27 No 2

Chopins humorous waltz in memory to his time he spent in vienna. It´s a persiflage on Viennas lifestyle where Frédéric Chopin was not able to get the consideration he wanted. Second time Vienna has been a great disillunsion for the young composer and musicain. Nobody wanted to hear him, nobody wanted to print his scores. So he did this wonderfull persiflage on viennas modern music in the early 19th. century: the waltz

There is a surprising discussion in some internet-places about the style not only this jewel is interpreted by Martin Dalheimer.
Martins rubato is remarkable; the rubato since the beginning of the 1900... was almost abandoned and not many pianists can do rubato - may I call it the "real rubato"? -  any more , or even if they can, only few do. 
The explanation of this piece astonished me and since then I heared this op.18 with more fun and better understanding.
I do not care for some gellous critics ...

Martin Dalheimer had a workshop in the Piano-atelier Olivier Fadini in Paris. Olivier is on best condition to find the real Chopin sound. He works with several Pleyel Pianos. Also with a Pianino Chopin liked so much. After intonation of the Hammer-heads Martin Dalheimer performed well known Opus 9 No 2 with unusual ornamentic like Koczalski did about 100 years ago.

Chopin Opus 55 No 1 On a workshop in the famous piano atelier of the genius Olivier Fadini in Paris, Martin Dalheimer plays on a Pleyel Pianino. Sorry for the Quality of recording.
But you can hear, how Opus 55 No 1 works with rubato.

This Video is made in the pianobuilder atelier from the genius Monsieur Olivier Fadini in Paris.
Martin Dalheimer is playing John Field Nocturne No 2, 6 and 3 on a Pleyel Pianino from 1837. It's hammerheads are covered with felt, so the sound is really warm and mystery. This kind of piano has been prefered by Chopin. During his life he posessed a lot of them like Mr. Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger showed in his new book about Chopin and Pleyel.

Martin Dalheimer if neccessary also repairs and tunes pianos so in ghe following links you can see a Broadwood cottage upright beeing tuned
Tuning 1
Tuning 2
Tuning 3
Opus 72 c-moll on Cottage Upright Until 3 p.a. tonight Martin worked on Broadwood Cottage upright piano. Today in the morning the piano had it's premiere after rising again.
So Martin first played Chopins Nocturne Opus 72 c-moll.
With best regards to Gilles

Chopin Opus 9 No 1 on Cottage Upright This is one of the best known compositions from Frédéric Chopin. Most time you can hear it palyed in a romantic slowly kind. But the expression of this little music-piece will come closer if it is played in original tempo. Martin told me any minutes ago that playing this piece on the upright cottage piano from 1844 is very different to plaing it on his square piano. The use of „real rubato" is much easier on this piano. Hands work togehter and against each other naturally. plaing real rubato is not as difficult as on another piano. So there comes the question why it is so.
I think it belongs to the fact, that the strings in this piano didn't cross. It is allover double stringed. And the strings grow up straight vertically. So the tone can be built without any obstacle without interferences which are built if two strings cross.
At least we can say: yes this piano gives us a clear imagine how Chopin worked. It makes possible to understand his instructions how to play...
Today there are a lot of people who tells us, tempi are not possible to play Chopins tempi based on a wrong time and so on. A lot of people take modern pedaling by plaing Chopin. But the piano like Chopin played had no so such Pedals. But therefore they had a una corda pedal which changes tone heavy. It is perfect for some interesting effects by playing Chopin. Although the other pedal which shortens the way of Hammer. it makes a dry, clear, fine tone. So we hope that it will be possible to find more people who want to take care of the rare instruments of the 19th century which are not tuned and restored on todays taste.
One day we will find a Pleyel upright piano and an Erard upright piano and although one of Broadwood again to compare and learn how Chopin really played.

Frederic Chopin Opus 28 No 15

The raindrop prelude Frédéric Chopin wrote down in Mallorca in the monastery of Valldemosa. The weather was windy and stormy, the rooms dark and cold overlaid from creepy silence. The housclaks have always stolen foods and never done their work satisfactory. And then there it was always raining. So Chopin may be influences by all this in composing the prélude Opus 28 / 15. The so called raindrop-prélude. So called by George Sand. She said it seems to hear the Raindrops fallen down from roof to the ground. Chopin reacts with a little annoy. He said this interpretation is very childish. And not engough George added to her first description: The prélude he wrote down on this evening was filled of raindrops, which resounds on the clinking bricks; in his own fantasie and in his singing Raindrops changed into tears falling down from heaven to his heart.
This is all a trying to explain with romantic words a composition without a lot of romance. I think, Chopin would show the piano players that it is possibel to change left and right hands work. So here you find the right hand giving rythm, speed and basics. Left had is playing a sometimes sweet and othertimes obtrusive melody which includes pain, love, and joy of life.

Today, June 2011 I found the information that Martin put some new videos to youtube from his most recent journey to Austria:

As it is so beautiful I would like to quote the original comment in german and translate it afterwards:

Kurzbesuch in Wyregg im privaten Piano-Museum von Jörg Demus, dem Museo Cristofori. Neben vielen anderen erlesenen Instrumenten hatte es Martin besonders der wunderschöne Wiener Bösendorfer-Flügel angetan. Wunderbar für Martins Spielweise. Der Liebestraum entstand ganz spontan, nachdem Martin Dalheimer den Flügel erstmals angefasst hatte. Jörg Demus hat hier ein Märchenschloss für musikbegeisterte Menschen geschaffen, das in einem tiefen Dornröschenschlaf zu liegen scheint. Die wunderbaren Instrumente in ihrer traumhaften Umgebung möchten nur eines: gespielt und gehört werden.  

Short visit at Wyregg in the private piano-museum of Jörg Demus, the musei, Cristofori. Beside of many other most precious instruments Martin was attracted by a terrific viennese Bösendorfer grand. The "Liebestraum" arose spontaneously, immediately after Martin touched the grand the first time. Jörg Demus here created a castle from the fairy tales for the public loving the music which seems to be fallen in a deep sleep. The miraculous instruments in this dreamlike ambiance seem to desire only this: To be played on and to be listened to.

Martin Dalheimer zu Besuch bei Anton Wille im Flügelhaus Ernst Gröschel im Kaunertal in Österreich.  (Tel. 0043 676 6382477 (14.00 - 18.00 °clock GMT-1)

At Kaunertal in Austria met  Ernst Gröschel in memoriam, Martin Dalheimer as a student of Ernst Gröschel and the friend Anton Wille to speak and to play music.
There lay around the preludes of Rachmaninov, and the tuning of the grands were still these Ernst Gröschel gave them over 10 years ago. Spontanously Martin played from the score, not concertant, on this beautiful Bechstein grand..
Toni Wille here created his own paradise where he created the only memorial-location to Ernst Gröschel, the extraordinary pianist. Through Gröschels influence Wille started to collect grands, from Gröschel he learned to tune and much about sound and sound-development. He lives and maintains Ernst Gröschels Heritage and by the way he creates his own works: Kornkreise, cut in wood to keep these messages in the memory of mankind.

- - -

Martin Dalheimer studied at Ernst Gröschel. This might become a separate post..

Probably you detected this post were an almost complete quotation of the whole youtube account of Martin Dalheimer, but I assure you I have chosen only the pieces I like best .... 

Martin Dalheimer is one of the few pianists performing on a genuine historic instrument. He also comes with his instrument in his car on demand and performs his superb concerts in your location. His Broadwood square piano is a fine, well preserved  example of  popular instruments from about 1830. Sure, such instument won't fill big halls with sound and public and the sound is different to nowadays ears. The sound is percussive and brilliant, rich of overtones and may be that sort of sound the composers expected when composing their music. I regret, Martin lives 400 km distant from my home but I am happy I have opportunity to experience that sort of concert here and there again


  1. Danke, lieber Wilfried
    du machst dir so unendlich viel Mühe. Womit haben wir das verdient. Im august sind wir in deiner Ecke mit zwei Konzerten. Da werden wir es hoffentlich einrichten können, dass wir uns sehen
    Herzliche Grüße

  2. Liebe Sabine,

    herzlichen Dank für den lieben Kommentar.
    Ihr seid übrigens die ersten hier ... :-))
    Die Mühe ... ist nicht der Rede wert; Ihr habt jede Mühe redlichst verdient.
    Womit? Oben steht doch schon übergenug, um hier nicht zu privat zu werden ...

    Auf die Konzerte jedenfalls ... freuen wir uns schon jetzt riesig.

    Herzliche Grüße