Walter Fortepiano (McNulty reproduction)

This fortepiano, made by Paul McNulty, is an exact replica of a fortepiano made by Anton Walter, both Mozart’s & Beethoven’s favourite Viennese piano-maker, in 1805. It is straight-strung, with soft leather hammers, a very light action, with a compass of only 5 & 1/2 octaves. The newly-invented una-corda (soft) pedal, as well as the moderator (similar to the mute pedal on modern uprights) and the sustain pedal are all operated by knee-levers, and the instrument has distinctively different tonal characteristics in bass, middle & treble sectors, unlike the modern grand, which strives for uniformity across the compass.

This instrument is used frequently for concerts, recordings and broadcasts by Robert Levin, Malcom Bilson, Kris Bezuidenhout and Richard Egar – here shown on stage at the QEH.