Erard square piano 1806


Opening on February 7, 8, 9, 2020,
Arcal Workshops 2021, Malmaison Residence 2022-2023

RADIO EMISSION: Metaclassic # 175 - IRISER

Olivier Schefer & Luca Montebugnoli
Produced and directed by David Christoffel

There is no collection of period pianos available to keyboardists in Paris; the period pianos of higher education institutions are reserved for students, the collections of museums for programmed pianists.
Pianists do not have instruments to perfect their skills once they have completed their studies... Quite a paradox!

Ce piano carré Érard 1806 permet aux pianistes d’approfondir leur connaissance de l’esthétique romantique et de nous faire découvrir un monde sonore extrêmement diversifié. Ce piano carré 1806 est un outil formidable pour redécouvrir le vaste répertoire pianistique du 1er Empire encore en grande partie méconnu. La multiplicité des registres sonores de l’instrument permettra notamment de remettre à jour le goût pour le pittoresque et les expérimentations de timbre et couleur propres aux œuvres des grand pianistes « parisiens », français et non, de l’époque, tel que Dussek, Steibelt, Louis Adam, Hélène de Montgeroult, Hyacinthe Jadin, etc.

The instrument was bought by M. Méreau for Mme Fourcade in Paris on June 18, 1806. The instrument belonged to Madame Jeanne Hatto (1879-1958), a singer in the first half of the 20th century, and then to the Merlin family. It was acquired by La Nouvelle Athènes - Centre des pianos romantiques in March 2018, Christopher Clarke delivered the restored piano for its inauguration on February 7, 2020 at the Salle Cortot in Paris.


We have successfully launched a donation campaign for 27 000€ to restore the altered pieces discovered during the restoration.

In fact, after measuring and dismantling the piano by the Master of Art Christopher Clarke, it appears that a restoration was carried out at the end of the nineteenth century, which replaced the pedals with kneepads, which transformed the fittings of the bassoon and lute stops and altered the keyboard.

Christopher Clarke recommended in July 2018 that "a pedalboard be reconstructed; it would be easy to leave the knee pads in place, as evidence of an intervention that deserves its place in the history of the rediscovery of the pianoforte. Nevertheless, I propose, for reasons of musical authenticity, to reconstitute a pedalboard and to change the linings of the bassoon and the lute stop.

During the restoration, Christopher Clarke found other altered or damaged parts; a plinth to be rebuilt in mahogany from Santo Domingo, the hammer heads to be refilled with skins, the varnish to be redone with buffer varnish... These complications extended the restoration time by 50%.

The Erard 1806 square piano is now fully restored and available at ARCAL for initiations with Luca Montebugnoli, training workshops in July 2021 as well as for your personal projects upon presentation to the steering committee of La Nouvelle Athènes


This 1806 Érard square piano has 4 stops (lute, forte, celeste, bassoon) which bring a diversity of exceptional sound colors, the apogee of an aesthetics of feelings, terrifying or poetic, witnesses of an era upset by the Revolution, the Terror, the Napoleonic Empire.

By giving, you allow

  • to preserve the French instrumental heritage,
  • pianists to access an extremely rare instrument, the foundation of piano playing,
  • to the association La Nouvelle Athènes - Centre des pianos romantiques to progressively make accessible a collection of period pianos (French, Germanic, English) covering the romantic repertoire 1750 - 1850

You participate in an avant-garde movement around a new culture of the romantic piano.

The restorations of the Sistine Chapel in Rome have opened up new chromatic perceptions and a renewed understanding of the Renaissance, just as the rediscovery of the original sounds of period pianos helps to put us back into the aesthetics and gestures of the composers and pianists of the Romantic era...

Dated 1805 on the soundboard, 1806 on the case
Range : FF-c5, F to C, 69 notes - Double pilot mechanism - 4 kneepads : lute, forte, celeste (FF-d3), bassoon (FF-c1)
Bi-cords : 9 brass wired choruses, 16 brass choruses, 44 iron choruses - Hammers in chamois leather,
Epicea soundboard, Ivory keyboard, Lemon label, Saint Domingue mahogany wood

Gauges marked on the soundboard at the pegs
Length: 1615 mm (without rocker panels), Width: 592 mm (without rocker panels), Body height: 235 mm (without cover)
Keyboard width: 921 mm 3 octaves width: 484 mm (F to F); 483 mm (C to C)
FF rope length : 1474 mm