Formerly the pedal keyboard, created by piano builder Wilhelm Hirl (1838-1905) working in Berlin since ca. 1874, had been in possession of the St. Paul’s parish in Zwickau-Marienthal. The instrument was combined with a piano or grand piano in an appropriate higher position. Beneath this pedal keyboard there is a set of strings sounded by a hammer mechanism at their rear end. Robert and Clara Schumann rented such a pedal beneath a grand piano in spring 1845 to put it beneath their piano and play it like an organ. Robert Schumann developed a particular interest in playing this combined instrument and wrote several pieces for the pedal piano: Studies in the Form of Canons Op. 56, Sketches Op. 58 and (as an alternative for the organ version) the Fugues on B-A-C-H Op. 60. Thanks to the generous support of Klavierservice Michael Masur (Berlin) and the Robert Schumann Society Zwickau this pedal piano has been restored into playing condition. It shows number 268, the exact creation date is mentioned with 15.04.[19]04. The exhibition presents this special instrument in a combination of Friedrich Wieck’s grand piano with a pedal keyboard.

You can listen to Robert Schumann’s Studies in canonical form C major for pedal piano Op. 56 No. 1 played by Thomas Synofzik on the pedal piano.


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