Fortepiano is an early predecessor to the modern grand piano and a successor to the harpsichord. It is a distinctly 18th-century instrument, as it was invented around 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori. Generally, the fortepiano is physically smaller and aurally less brilliant than the modern grand piano. Rather than the thick felt of a modern grand piano, the fortepiano's hammers are covered with leather. In addition, the fortepiano has a damper pedal that can be employed by pressing the knee upwards against a lever on the base of the keydesk, rather than with the foot. The squeaking of this damper pedal can be heard in the recording. This instrument was built by Paul McNulty, who is a renowned fortepiano builder based in the Czech Republic.
This musical excerpt is from the beginning of the Adagio of Franz Danzi's Sinfonia concertante in E-flat major. The phrase structure is ABAB' in a call-and-response type of gesture. The opening "A" phrases are played by oboe, accompanied by the ripieno string section, and the full concertino responds for the "B" phrases. Recorded with an iPhone SE.
University of North Texas, Denton, TX
Instruments: fortepiano, early music