by Robert A. Brown
after Jakob Bertsche
The original instument after which this instrument was built was restored in the workshop of Robert Brown and today belongs to a private collection in Gagny (France).
The design of the new instrument is closely based to that of the original instrument but is not exactly replicated. For example the original instrument is veneered in beautifully grained Walnut this instrument in a very simple cherry veneer. Further, the string lengths are adapted to the usual pitch of today, i.e. a1= Hz 430 - 440. The original instrument was designed probably for a considerably higher pitch.
This instrument has six octaves and one note, FF - f4, a particular characteristic of this instrument are the six pedals, (from left to right) Basoon, Keyboard shift, Moderator single, Moderator double, Damperlifter, Turkish music (Janitscharen). These different pedals serve the purpose of changing the quality and colour of the sound, in the case of the Turkish music to produce a special sound effect. This interest in the colour of the sound was typical of all instruments of this period and is an important factor in the interpretation of this music.
The decision to build this instrument was taken principally upon the quality of the sound of the original Bertsche piano. The instrument represents one of the high points of the classical vienese pianomaking tradition of the early nineteenth century immediately before the appearance of the first romantic sounding pianos as exempified by the instruments of Conrad Graf. The sound maintains the slender quality and the colours of the different registers typical of the classical vienese piano. For this reason it is ideal for the enterpretation of much of the music of Beethoven, Schubert and their contemporaries.