Only the Carl Bechstein Foundation can organize such a concert in Berlin: as part of the concert series “professors and their master students”, Gerrit Zitterbart and Cunmo Yin performed their repertoires on five valuable historic fortepianos in the Carl Bechstein Hall in Spandau.
Prior to the concert, pianist Riko Fukuda and piano restorer Edwin Beunk presented selected instruments from the high-class collection of historic keyboard instruments of the Carl Bechstein Foundation in two tours, including two harpsichords, Hemsch and Shudi, as well as selected fortepianos by Joseph Brodmann, Ferdinand Hofmann, Johann Baptist Streicher, Erard and – last but not least – a grand piano by Carl Bechstein. Gerrit Zitterbart had the luxury to play two pieces by Mozart on two instruments: the short March KV 33b on the fortepiano by Anton Walter (1780) and the C minor Fantasy KV 475 on the fortepiano by Louis Dulcken (1784), on which the pedal effect is created by a knee lever.
For Beethoven’s “Pathétique”, Zitterbart has chosen the fortepiano by Matthias Müller from 1810, from which four pedals can create lots of sound possibilities. For the music of Schubert, the soft sounds of the fortepiano by Johann Baptist Streicher (1834) with downstriking action would seem ideal. Not only has Zitterbart interpreted the pieces outstandingly, he also knew how to explain the instruments themselves, as well as the relations between the composers and the pianofortes – without being pedantic. This has made the concert also a rather instructive evening.
After the intermission, Cunmo Yin shone with his interpretation of Brahm’s masterfully written F minor sonata on the straight-strung pianoforte by Joseph Schneider (1850), of which the dark and warm sound suited Brahms perfectly. The Schneider, a unique piece of rarely luxurious furnishings with mosaic-like inlays, mother-of-pearl inserts and the special bird’s eye maple wood, was one of the most valuable instruments of its time, which still has an incredible aura today.