Piano Pieces – Pianos. Sounds. Art.

    
In its more recent exhibition history, the Salzburg Museum has consistently pursued the aim of presenting its comprehensive collection relating to Salzburg’s art and cultural history in special dialogue situations between specific epochs, artistic genres, media and artists. 

There are two factors that play an important role in the choice of themes and exhibition design: besides the collection itself, there is also the relationship to the location. In the current Piano Pieces project, the latter is subjected to a special approach by tying in the two conceptual fields of Music and the Visual Arts with the festival city of Salzburg, whose image has not been shaped by Mozart alone. 

For the exhibition in the Kunsthalle of the Neue Residenz, the Salzburg Museum’s extensive collection of pianos is the starting point for a concept that combines a selection of instruments with pieces of music and works of art from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century.

The result is an exhibition that brings together pianos with sound and music examples and also with works of art – as testimonial to an instrument and to a very dynamic and versatile history of art that is associated with pianos.

Hammerflügel (Nr. 121), John Broadwood, London, 1785–90, Sammlung Wlaschek, Inv.-Nr. 4-4
Hammerflügel (Nr. 121), John Broadwood, London, 1785–90, Sammlung Wlaschek, Inv.-Nr. 4-4Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Fortepiano

    
Behind the name of Broadwood we discover the earliest still existent brand name in the history of piano construction. Founded in 1728 by Burkat Shudi (1702–1773), the factory was taken over in 1772 by his son-in-law John Broadwood (1732–1812). The first instruments were square pianos. In 1777 John Broadwood joined forces with Robert Stodart (1748–1831) and developed a fortepiano in grand piano form with wing-shaped lid. The grand piano on display here has a range of five and a half octaves and is dated between 1785 and 1790. It was subsequently painted with genre scenes, landscapes and floral motifs.

Tafelklavier, Érard, Paris, um 1800, Sammlung Wlaschek, Inv.-Nr. 5-3
Tafelklavier, Érard, Paris, um 1800, Sammlung Wlaschek, Inv.-Nr. 5-3Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Square piano

   
According to the inscription on the soundboard, the instrument was built around 1800 by J.B. Luidant, SĂ©bastien Érard’s foreman and father of piano composer Alfred Luidant (1815–1893). Restorations and redesign work were likewise carried out by the Érard company. In construction and design, the piano is based on the typical English square pianos of that time. SĂ©bastian Érard began to reproduce these in 1776. The pioneering patents of the Érard company that made rapid repetition possible are not yet found in this instrument.  

Giraffenflügel, Heinrich Christian Janszen (erw. 1813–49), Wien, 1824, Salzburg Museum, Inv.-Nr. MI 1034
Giraffenflügel, Heinrich Christian Janszen (erw. 1813–49), Wien, 1824, Salzburg Museum, Inv.-Nr. MI 1034Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Giraffe grand piano

   
This space-saving piano type was named “à la giraffe”, as its shape is reminiscent of a giraffe’s silhouette. It was particularly popular in Vienna in the period between 1810 and 1850. The instrument shown here was made and signed by Heinrich Christian Janszen in Vienna (Mariahilf, no. 154), but not dated. Because Janszen had an exclusive one-year privilege for “double soundboard” in 1824, the instrument can be assigned precisely to this year. The figure of Orpheus leaning at the side is probably a later addition. The museum bought the piano in 1903 and restored it in 1981.

Neo-Bechstein-FlĂĽgel, Carl Bechstein, Siemens, Berlin, 1932, Sammlung Wlaschek, Inv.-Nr. 4-37
Neo-Bechstein-Flügel, Carl Bechstein, Siemens, Berlin, 1932, Sammlung Wlaschek, Inv.-Nr. 4-37Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Neo-Bechstein grand piano

   
The “Neo-Bechstein Grand Piano”, 1.40 m in length, was developed by the Bechstein company and Siemens as well as Nobel Prize winner Walther Nernst (1864–1941). It has no soundboard and uses magnetic coils to pick up the sound of the vibrating strings and their electronic amplification. In the process, the strings are hit by “micro-hammers” and the vibrations taped inductively by pickups, amplified with a valve amplifier and transmitted through a loudspeaker. A record player or radio can be connected additionally to the amplifier. The right pedal controls volume, the left generates sound effects of harpsichord and celesta.

Günther Uecker, Piano, 1964, Nägel, weiße Farbe auf schwarzem Klavier, Sammlung Würth, Künzelsau. Foto: Philipp Schönborn, München. Günther Uecker © Bildrecht, Wien 2015
Günther Uecker, Piano, 1964, Nägel, weiße Farbe auf schwarzem Klavier, Sammlung Würth, Künzelsau. Foto: Philipp Schönborn, München. Günther Uecker © Bildrecht, Wien 2015Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

GĂĽnther Uecker

   
“Piano” by Günther Uecker dated 1964 is an early example of the “nailing” of furniture, music instruments and other objects current in the 1960s. The use of steel pins was anarchic, aggressive, progressive and aesthetic. At the time he conceived “Piano”, Günther Uecker belonged to the artists’ group “ZERO” founded by Otto Piene and Heinz Mack. “ZERO” was always known as well for a phase of silence and stillness; hence, Uecker’s “Piano” impresses us by seeming to occupy an intermediate zone where the old state of an instrument is transformed into a new object status.

Fritz Panzer, Hommage an Nam June Paik, 2010, Drahtskulptur, Courtesy: Galerie Krobath Wien, Berlin
Fritz Panzer, Hommage an Nam June Paik, 2010, Drahtskulptur, Courtesy: Galerie Krobath Wien, BerlinKlicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Fritz Panzer

   
Fritz Panzer’s “Homage to Nam June Paik” makes direct reference in the title of his wire sculpture to the Korean-American pioneer of media art. Panzer interpreted Paik’s famous “Klavier Intégral” of 1963 as a wire sculpture. This seems like a large-format graphic work in three-dimensional space.

Monika Baumgartl, Joseph Beuys mit Henning Christiansen, „Celtic (Kinloch Rannoch): The Scottish Symphony“, Aufführung vom 23. bis 30. August 1970, Gelatinsilberabzug, Stiftung Museum Kunst Palast, AFORK. © Stiftung Mozarteum Kunst Palast - ARTOTHEK © Monika Baumgartl Joseph Beuys © Bildrecht, Wien 2015
Monika Baumgartl, Joseph Beuys mit Henning Christiansen, „Celtic (Kinloch Rannoch): The Scottish Symphony“, Aufführung vom 23. bis 30. August 1970, Gelatinsilberabzug, Stiftung Museum Kunst Palast, AFORK. © Stiftung Mozarteum Kunst Palast - ARTOTHEKKlicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Monika Baumgartl

   
In the summer of 1970 the photographer Monika Baumgartl accompanied the action, lasting several days, of “Celtic (Kinloch Rannoch): The Scottish Symphony”, which Joseph Beuys and Danish artist and composer Henning Christiansen devised for the “Strategy: Get Arts” exhibition at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. Inspired by the Scottish Highlands and prehistoric stone monuments, Beuys developed a piece in collaboration with Christiansen which in performance made use of various utensils and props in association with specific actions and acoustic elements to produce a symbolically loaded “Fluxus Theatre”.

John Cage, Water Music, 1952, Partitur, Frankfurt: Edition Peters No. 6770, Privatarchiv, Salzburg
John Cage, Water Music, 1952, Partitur, Frankfurt: Edition Peters No. 6770, Privatarchiv, SalzburgKlicken um Bild zu vergrößern

John Cage Water Music, 1952

   
Manfred Leve’s photographs show the pianist David Tudor performing John Cage’s composition “Water Music” at the Contre Festival in Cologne in 1960. During the piece, Tudor not only had to play the piano but also carry out a number of specific actions. At his disposal he had among other things a radio, a pot, a pipe, a bowl of water and a wooden stick. Cage noted down the procedure on his score with precise time specifications. The “notation material” had to be hung up clearly visible for the audience during the performance. The composition is renowned as Cage’s earliest works of musical performance. It demonstrates an ever growing interest for a performance practice dominated by non-musical elements and the integration of everyday noises.

Katharina Mayer, aus der Serie „familia“, Familie Aldington, London, 2008, C-print, Diasec, Courtesy: Galerie Bernd A. Lausberg, Düsseldorf
Katharina Mayer, aus der Serie „familia“, Familie Aldington, London, 2008, C-print, Diasec, Courtesy: Galerie Bernd A. Lausberg, DüsseldorfKlicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Katharina Mayer

   
Photographs of families make up an autonomous group of pictures in Katharina Mayer’s work. Each photograph makes an impression as an artistic “Family Constellation”, which usually takes shape in the personal living environment of the subjects and frequently conveys the effect the family has on the artist. Katharina Mayer’s photo of a banker’s family taken in London in 2008 shows the mother with her children in front of the large, almost overpowering portrait of the father. While the latter seems immensely present as a “picture within a picture” and the mother stands in a rather cool pose in front of the camera, a mute and cautious interaction of touches and looks is acted out between the children, in whose centre is the open grand piano.

Visit us on Facebook