Grand piano by Michael Rosenberger, Vienna, c1795

Compass: FF - c''''
Viennese action.
Kneelevers for dampers and moderator.

Grand Piano by Michael Rosenberger

As a musical centre famous for its composers, it is hardly surprising that Vienna could claim its fair share of musical instrument makers. Like London, Vienna boasted a concentration of keyboard instrument builders and was home to several celebrated workshops. Bavarian by birth, little is known about Rosenberger’s life, but it is believed that he settled in Vienna in the late 1780s and trained with Anton Walter, the maker of one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s pianos. It is known that other members of Rosenberger’s family were involved in piano manufacture, but Michael seems to have been the most prolific and achieved renown. In most respects, this instrument is typical of Viennese pianos of the late 18th century, possessing many of the features peculiar to that school of building, including knee-operated levers for raising the dampers and for interposing a moderator (a strip of cloth or leather) between the hammers and the strings to soften the tone. The elegant case is veneered in un-stained cherry – a wood often coloured red in imitation of fashionable mahogany, which was not widely imported into Austria during the period. The relatively robust construction of the instrument suggests innovation on the part of its maker, contributing to a bolder and more assertive sound, and reflecting a general trend towards the improvement of an established form. 

When you play, never mind who listens to you

Robert Schumann

Michael Rosenberger fortepiano - c1795 Presenter : Julian Perkins