Grand piano by Conrad Graf (1782–1851), Wien 1838

Piano by Conrad Graf (1782–1851), Vienna 1838, Society of Music Friends in Vienna
Piano by Conrad Graf (1782–1851), Vienna 1838, Society of Music Friends in Vienna

On the occasion of her triumphal concert tour to Vienna, Clara Wieck received this piano in 1838 as a present from Conrad Graf, one ofthe most famous piano makers of his time. In the course of the disputes with Friedrich Wieck, Clara had to dispense with the piano which was retained by her father. After her marriage, Robert Schumann loved to play on it. After Robert Schumann’s death, Clara gave it to Johannes Brahms as a present, who, in turn, bequeathed it to the Society of Music Friends in Viennastill in his lifetime, after the piano had been exhibited at the World Exposition in Vienna in 1873. Today, the instrument can be viewed in the new parts of the Hofburg Palace.

For a time, Clara Wieck-Schumann favoured the instruments by Conrad Graf, but later on she also had in her possession those by Breitkopf&Härtel, Streicher, and Wirth, and during the years in Düsseldorf, she played predominantly on pianos by the local company Klems and also received as a present an instrument by the piano maker Parisian Erard. The instruments by all these firms which were once owned by Clara Schumann have not been preserved. 

(J.M.N., translated by Thomas Henninger)

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