Talk:Gottfried Silbermann

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Apostles[edit]

Another group of Silbermann pupils were the so-called the "twelve apostles"

This may be a myth, see for example this article about Zumpe [1] Mireut 19:49, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I haven't found any reference to these apostles in 19th century texts, here's what I saw in some recent ones:

  • Backers (Becker) (Dolge p168)
  • Backers ("the Dutchman" only, Harding p54)
  • Backers ("The first of them to reach London ... apparently", and "a Dutchman", Wainwright, p33)
  • Beyer (Wainwright p33)
  • Gabriel Buntebart (Kottick p63)
  • Buntebart (Wainwright p33)
  • Johann Heinrich (Ehrlich p13)
  • Geib (Dolge p168)
  • Geib ("probably a German" only, Harding p56)
  • Neubauer (Wainwright p34)
  • Pohlman (Ehrlich p13)
  • Pohlmann (Wainwright p33)
  • Schoene (Wainwright p33)
  • Johannes Zumpe ("said to have been a former follower of G. S." Belt p21)
  • Zumpe (Dolge p168)
  • Johann Christoph Zumpe (Ehrlich p13)
  • Johannes Zumpe (Gillespie p11)
  • Johannes Zumpe (Harding p54)
  • Johann Cristoph Zumpe (Kottick p63)
  • Zumpe ("there is some talk of his once having been a disciple of G. S.", Loesser p219)
  • Johannes Zumpe (Siepmann p71)
  • Zumpe (Wainwright p33, but quotes Broadwood's son, "on his return from Germany, where he had been to visit his relations, bought back with him the first of these instruments seen in England, and about the years 1768 or 1769, began to make them" p41)

and referencing other pupils,

  • Christian Ernst Friederici (Ehrlich p13)
  • Christian Ernst Friederici ("said to have been a pupil of S." Loesser p42)
  • Balthasar Schiedmayer (Dolge p168)
  • Johann Andreas Stein (Dolge p168)
  • Johann Stein ("an apprentice of S." p11)
  • Johann Andreas Stein ("learned that craft in Strasbourg from J. A. Silbermann - a nephew of the famous G." Loesser p101)

What does Grove's say on the subject? - Mireut 19:35, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Cole seems to suggest Brinsmead as its originator, Burnett indicates Rimbault, and Hipkins has this to say:

We gather from Burney's contributions to "Rees's Cyclopaedia," that after the arrival of John Christian Bach in London, A.D. 1759, a few grand pianofortes were attempted, by the second-rate harpsichord makers, but with no particular success. If the workshop tradition can be relied upon that several of Silbermann's workmen had come to London about that time, the so-called "twelve apostles," more than likely owing to the Seven Years' War, we should have here men acquainted with the Cristofori model, which Silbermann had taken up, and the early grand pianos referred to by Burney would be on that model. I should say the "new instrument" of Messrs. Broadwood's play-bill of 1767 was such a grand piano; but there is small chance of ever finding one now, and if an instrument were found, it would hardly retain the original action, as Messrs. Broadwood's books of the last century show the practice of refinishing instruments which had been made with the "old movement." [old movement is pretty vague...]
Burney distinguishes Americus Backers by special mention. He is said to have been a Dutchman. (Scientific American Supplement, No. 385, May 19, 1883)

- Mireut 20:52, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

From E. F. Rimbault. The Pianoforte: Its Origin, Progress and Construction. Robert Cocks & Co. London, 1860

"At length, about the year 1760, many ingenious German mechanics left their country and came to England in search of employment as pianoforte-makers ; this gave the instrument its first impetus. A party of twelve travelled hither in one company, and obtained, from this circumstance, the appelation of the 'twelve apostles.'" p131

From E. Brinsmead, The History of the Pianoforte Novello, Ewer & Co. London, 1879

"The event which seems partly to have turned the tide of public opinion iin England was the arraival of twelve working pianoforte-makers in 1760, who came over in search of employment. They were familiarly known as the 'twelve apostles,' as they succeeded in converting the English partiality for the harpsichord into love for the pianoforte. All the pianofortes made in England were in the shape of grands, until Zumpé, a German, commenced making small square instruments in 1760. This application of the virginal form to the pianoforte is claimed by Fétis for Frederici, of Gera, an organ-builder, who made square pianos in 1758, two years before Zumpé." p.118
  • Americus Backers ("also a German, who had been in the employ of Silbermann of Neuberg." Rimbault, p131)
  • Backers, ("a harpsichord-maker of the second rank" Brinsmead p119)
  • John Zumpé ("a German...who had been in the employ of Tschudi" Rimbault, p132)
  • John Pohlman (reference as countryman of Zumpe, Rimbault,p133)
  • Zumpé ("a German" Brinsmead p118)
  • Christian Ernest Frederici ("the favourite pupil of Silbermann...said to have made the first square pianoforte" Rimbault p119)

- Mireut 21:53, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

"English action"[edit]

Through Backers and others, the original conception of a complex but effective action survived. The English action was later modified and improved further by Sébastian Érard and Henri Herz to yield the action used in all grand pianos today.

I think this is a stretch, and what English action is meant - Zumpe's, Backers' or Geib's? - Mireut 21:07, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Reply for Mireut[edit]

Hello - I would like to be able to make use of your remarks to produce improvements in this article, but you're not making it easy. All of those references labeled only by the last name of the author are quite obscure to me; you need to include the bibliographic information for them to be useful. Also, I'd be awfully suspicious of using a reference source that's well over a century old (the Scientific American). Unless I can be convinced that the sources you're citing are really reputable ones, I'd prefer to rely on the books by Good and Pollens already cited in the bibliography. Yours truly, Opus33 06:46, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

If Good and Pollens are as indefinite on the subject as each of these I think the article should reflect it. - Mireut 14:38, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Richard Burnett, A Company of Pianos, Finchcock's Press, Goodhurst, Kent, 2004
  • Michael Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, Oxford University Press, 1998
  • Alfred Dolge, Pianos and their Makers, Covina Publishing Co, Covina CA, 1911
  • Cyril Ehrlich, The Piano: a History. Oxford University Press, 1990
  • John Gillespie, Five Centuries of Keyboard Music. Wadsworth Publishing Co. 1965
  • Rosamond Harding, The Pianoforte. Gresham Books. Old Woking, Surrey. 1978.
  • Alfred J. Hipkins "Pianoforte" George Grove, ed. A Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Macmillan & Co. London, 1880
  • Alfred J. Hipkins, Description and History of Pianoforte. Novello, London, 1896
  • Edward L. Kottick, George Lucktenberg, Early Keyboard Instruments in European Museums. Indiana University Press, Bloominton and Indianapolis, 1997
  • Arthur Loesser, Men Women & Pianos, Dover, 1969
  • Edward F. Rimbault, The Pianoforte: Its Origin, Progress and Construction. Robert Cocks & Co, London, 1860
  • Edwin M. Ripin, Cyril Ehrlich, Philip Belt et al, Piano (New Grove Musical Series.) W. W. Norton & Co. New York, London, 1988
  • David Wainwright, Broadwood by Appointment, Quiller Press, London, 1982

(you can find many of the titles here, http://www.mozartpiano.com/articles/biblio.html )