Sébastien Érard was a world famous French instrument maker of German origin who specialized in the production of pianos and harps, developing the capacities of both instruments and pioneering the evolution modern piano. To own an Erard was to own an instrument of the highest quality and latest innovations in piano.
Érard's grand piano action is the predecessor to all those used in modern grands. The repetition lever in these "double escapement" actions allows notes to be repeated more easily than in single actions. It is just one of many Érard innovations still found on modern pianos - for example, Érard was the first maker in Paris to fit pedals on the piano, and his instrument had several pedals.
Érard's pianos were also widely appreciated by the foremost musicians - Charles Valentin, Alkan, Beethoven, Chopin, Faure, Haydn, Herz, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Moscheles, Wagner, Verdi and Ravel are just a few of the famous composers who owned Erard Pianos. Mid-career, Paderewski traveled on concert tours with his own Érard piano. Franz Liszt is said to have played a six-octave Érard piano in Paris in 1824. Érard put him under contract from about this time until 1825, so when he toured England they sponsored him and he played their pianos. (Wikipedia)
This 1910 Erard was restored and rebuilt back to its original former glory twenty years ago by the great piano restorer William ‘Billy’ McDonald in Northern Ireland before he sadly passed away after a lifetime of dedication to piano restoration.
It’s one of the best rebuilds of a high end Erard we have ever had in our possession and is a fine example of William’s skill, craftsmanship and passion for perfecting the most prized pianos in the industry. In an age where robots and technology build the modern piano, it’s a thing of beauty to see the care, time, experience and knowledge behind the restoration of this Erard piano. William understood, as you will see in the below video, that each individual make of piano is handled and restored differently, and only by first studying a master’s work can you select the correct type of restoration that fits what the original maker had intended to achieve with their unique design. By doing so, the rebuilder brings out the best in the piano, tonally and kinaesthetically, enabling the player to feel and hear what it was once like to play the instrument that has been restored.
The piano was re-strung with new tuning pins, tapes, bushings, felts, springs etc. Original dampers were kept. Original hammers were kept, toned and voiced. The pedal section was reconditioned with new springs. The soundboard was cleaned and is in perfect condition, as is the pin block. The pins are rock tight and the piano is tuned to Concert Pitch. The piano has long strings and a wide soundboard, so has significant presence, volume, and depth of tone. A beautiful warm rich sound quality, pure and rounded with a strong Tenor and potent Bass. The piano’s voice sings in the mid and treble. The touch is medium to heavy and very responsive, a delight to play and suitable for all levels of player, from beginner to advanced.
A true family heirloom, built to last for centuries. Firstly by the great piano inventor and pioneer Erard, and secondly by William McDonald; the great Irish piano restorer.
(William ‘Billy’ McDonald restoring a Pleyel Grand Piano)