In addition to the competitors Érard and other piano manufacturers such as Gaveau and Mangeot Freres, the piano manufacturer Ignace Pleyel &, founded by Pleyel in Paris in 1807, was one of the major European piano manufacturers in the decades up to 1870, in terms of volume production around the middle of the 19th Century only surpassed by Broadwood, London. Frédéric Chopin preferred Pleyel’s instruments and praised them as non plus ultra. Two Pleyel grand pianos from Chopin’s personal possession are still known today. One of the Chopin instruments that is preserved in the UK is of outstanding sound. Chopin dedicated his three Nocturnes op. 9 to the host of his first stay in Paris, Marie Moke-Pleyel, wife of the piano manufacturer Camille Pleyel, son of the founder Ignace.

At the end of 2013, the production of pianos was discontinued after several geographic relocations. Until recently, Pleyel mainly had four classic grand piano models from the P170 salon grand piano to the P280 concert grand piano as well as various designer grand pianos. In October 2012, Pleyel presented a model in cooperation with the French Peugeot Design Lab. Special design features are a carbon-made lid and base as well as an upward pulling mechanism underneath the keyboard. The brands are still on sale in the Pleyel Piano Showroom in Paris.

This particular grand piano was made in 1890 and it is reported that the famous pianist Robert Casadesus owned such an instrument or at least a very similar model. In a direct comparison to the Kaps grand piano in the Musikstudio, the modern technology of this instrument is undoubtedly striking, which is very noticeable in the keystroke and the sound. Pianists who are more familiar with modern instruments than with historical ones therefore usually prefer this grand piano at concerts because it is much more similar to today’s instruments. The sound is less soft and a little more brilliant than the Kaps. For this reason it is of course particularly suitable for more modern compositions of the 20th century, although of course older works can also be played very well with it.

Photos: Johannes Paqué
Paintings: Otto von Kotzebue