The Pleyela Piano Player - Pleyel, Wolff, Lyon et Cie, Paris, c. 1905 onwards.
Introduction and Early History of the Firm of Pleyel
The piano manufacturing firm of Pleyel was established in Paris in 1807 by Ignace Pleyel, an Austrian composer and pianist, who had settled first in Strasbourg, but who moved to the French capital in the unruly years immediately following the French Revolution. Producing some 50 pianos a year in 1813, and progressing to an average of 3,000 by 1866, the firm became extraordinarily successful, with a fine concert hall and warerooms in the rue Rochechouart, where very many famous pianists performed, including Chopin and Liszt.
Ignace Pleyel (1757-1831), Founder of the Firm.
After Ignace Pleyel's death in 1831, the business was continued by his son, Camille, and subsequently by Auguste Wolff, both of whom maintained the tradition of combining keyboard virtuosity with technical expertise. Wolff was the nephew of the French composer, Ambroise Thomas, and a pupil of the virtuoso pianist, Friedrich Kalkbrenner, and in 1853 the firm became a limited company, under the title of Pleyel, Wolff et Cie.
Camille Pleyel (1788-1855), and Auguste Wolff (1821-1887).
Under Wolff's direction, the manufacture of pianos was moved to Saint-Denis, to the north of Paris, and the new factories were so extensive that the whole area became known as the Carrefour Pleyel. By the 1880s Pleyel was already producing a full range of upright and grand pianos, including an overstrung boudoir grand designed by Auguste Wolff himself, which the French composer Charles Gounod affectionately christened a Crapaud, or Toad!
Some of the Pleyel Workforce outside the Factory, Saint-Denis, c. 1910.
In 1882, Wolff took his son-in-law, Gustave Lyon, into the business, and it was Lyon who succeeded him as head of the firm, when the older man died in 1887. Lyon was the first professionally trained engineer to take command, and the firm became known as Pleyel, Wolff, Lyon et Cie, and finally as Pleyel, Lyon et Cie. Gustave Lyon was a first-rate communicator, very popular with his workers, and an inveterate inventor. Like many benevolent industrialists of the time, he encouraged his employees to build their social lives together, and Pleyel provided a free school, a club for retired workers, an archery team, and a military style band, Le Fanfare Pleyel, seen here in about 1893, outside one of the main buildings at Saint-Denis.
Le Fanfare Pleyel, Saint-Denis, c. 1893.
A special silver medal was struck and awarded to members of the Fanfare, which had been founded in 1861 by Auguste Wolff, and was originally known as the Orphéon Pleyel-Wolff. The conductor seen above has the same style of moustache and receding hairline as Gustave Lyon himself did at this time, and since he came from a family of professional musicians, it seems rather likely that the boss is wielding the baton!
The Silver Medal for the Orphéon Pleyel-Wolff, Saint-Denis, 1861 onwards.
Amongst Gustave Lyon's many achievements were a double grand piano with keyboards at each end, modern concert harpsichords, chromatic harps and chromatic timpani, and a system for synchronising multiple roll-operated instruments. In his late sixties he turned his thoughts to architecture and acoustics, producing a brilliant design for the new Salle Pleyel in Paris, which many French musicians still regard as that city's finest concert hall.
Gustave Lyon (1857-1936), lecturing on some of his Inventions.
The Original Pleyela
Given the success of the Pianola, which since 1900 had been just as popular in France as in any other European country, it was perhaps inevitable that an enterprising inventor should wish to bring his own brand of piano player on to the market, and the design of Gustave Lyon's new instrument, the Pleyela, was quite ingenious, especially with regard to fitting all the mechanism into the smallest possible space. The original 65-note Pleyela was less than 18 inches deep (0.45 metres), including its projecting fingers, which made it one of the very slimmest such instruments in the world.
Interior View of an early Pleyela, Paris, La Nature magazine, 1907.
To those accustomed to the workings of a normal player piano, the view above presents few surprises, with two pedals, a pair of equalisers fitting neatly above them, and a wind motor sitting at the right and driving the roll mechanism by means of a metal chain. However, there appear to be no pneumatic motors to operate the fingers which play the keys, the reason being that Lyon designed a particularly cunning mechanism, with windways and unit valves located immediately above the fingers. Most player piano historians credit the technical team at the Ampico Company in the USA with being the first to design a really compact pneumatic stack, but in fact Gustave Lyon had done the same thing about fifteen years earlier.
Counting the pneumatics in the illustration below, it can be seen that there are 67, two more than the range of the rolls which the instrument played, and it seems likely that the music could be transposed up or down by one note. The Pleyela catalogue for 1909 confirms that the lowest finger was to be placed above the low G# of the piano, extending to the top D, whereas the standard 65-note range ran from A to C#.
Pneumatic Stack and Finger Assembly of an early Pleyela, Paris, La Nature, 1907.
In performance, the Pleyela looked much like any other piano-player, and it is worth remarking that all such instruments in their early days were intended to be pedalled rather uniformly, using the available levers to influence the dynamics of the music. Later on, the Pianola in particular became an instrument whose dynamics were mainly created by the player's feet, with the levers only modifying the levels with regard to treble or bass, but the earlier style of playing never quite died away in regard to many instruments, including the Pleyela. The player below is Georges Lantelme, a minor French composer who worked for many years as a senior manager at Pleyel. The music is apparently Wagner's "Tannhäuser" Overture, which would make it Pleyela roll no. 1066. How appropriate that this webpage is becoming as long as the Bayeux Tapestry!
Georges Lantelme at the Pleyela, Paris, 1907.
How It Works
The animated diagram below is based on one of Gustave Lyon's patents, applied for in late 1905 and granted in March 1906. At the extreme left is a stylised representation of a perforated music roll, moving down the image at a regular speed, and with note holes opening the tracker bar in every alternate frame. At rest, when no note is playing, suction (yellow) enters the channel up to the tracker bar, through the small bleed hole located below the airtight primary membrane, and the primary valve is pushed to the left by a mixture of its spring and the internal suction, closing off atmosphere (white) at its right-hand face, and allowing suction, through its left-hand face, to enter under the left-hand secondary membrane. There is always suction under the right-hand secondary membrane, but this membrane is slightly smaller than the one on the left, which therefore takes precedence. The left-hand membrane sucks down the left-hand end of the secondary valve arm (the see-saw), closing off suction to the pneumatic motor, but allowing in atmosphere through the right-hand end of the arm. As a result the pneumatic is free to open, and its right-hand end, connected to a wooden finger (not shown), is pushed upwards by the force of the piano key lifting.
Animated Model of an early Pleyela Unit Valve and Pneumatic, Paris, 1905.
When a perforation on the roll uncovers the tracker bar, atmospheric air enters the cavity to the left of the primary membrane, to such a degree that the small bleed hole below it cannot accommodate the flow of air. The free air therefore inflates the primary membrane, which pushes the primary valve to the right, against its small spring. The primary valve now shuts off the suction at the left, and from its right-hand face allows atmosphere to pass underneath the left-hand secondary membrane. This membrane inflates, and in conjunction with the constant suction under the right-hand membrane causes the see-saw to rock downwards to the right, closing off atmosphere at its right-hand end, and allowing suction through its left-hand end. The suction enters the pneumatic, which collapses and pushes down the wooden finger (not shown) and causes the piano key to play. Our great-grandfathers may not have had computers, but they were remarkably ingenious!
Pleyela-Chanteur and Pleyel Grand Piano, Paris, 1909.
The early Pleyela of 1905 split its mechanism into two sections, for treble and bass, as did most piano players of the time, and by 1909 a Pleyela-Chanteur was on the market, aping Aeolian's Themodist and allowing the familiar ditto-mark accenting perforations at the edges of the rolls to assist in bringing out important notes effectively. The firm also began installing its Pleyela mechanisms into its own pianos, which were known as Pleyel-Pleyelas.
Manufacturing the Pleyela
A section of the Pleyel factory at Saint-Denis was set aside for the construction of the firm's new piano players, as the following photographs, taken from Le Monde Musical in 1907, make clear. The first shows the fretwork shop. where some of the more complicated casework was cut to shape. Two curved covers for the roll compartment can be clearly seen, and the large nozzle in the foreground must have been a suction filter for removing the sawdust that would otherwise have caused the workers great problems with breathing.
Pleyela Factory - Fretwork Shop, Saint-Denis, 1907.
The assembly floor, where the instruments were constructed from their various component parts, was at the top of a building, to judge from the angle of the windows, and indeed it would have made sense to provide a good source of light for this detailed work. In the foreground, and to the left of the open Pleyela, can be seen part of the wooden channeling that connected the tracker bar with the individual note valves; the Pleyela was perhaps unique in using neither lead nor rubber tubing for this delicate function.
Pleyela Factory - Assembly Floor, Saint-Denis, 1907.
Once constructed, the complete instruments were stained and polished as required, an operation that demanded a great amount of time, and therefore a relatively large workforce. In the days before universal secondary education, it can be seen that one or two of the polishers were barely teenagers. In Le Monde Musical, the photograph was cut to allow the text to run over part of it, which is why the lower left corner is missing.
Pleyela Factory - Polishing Shop, Saint-Denis, 1907.
The miniaturisation of the Pleyela mechanism and a desire to simplify its regulation once installed led Gustave Lyon to design a system constructed predominantly in metal. Many of his patents speak of using aluminium, more airtight and apparently more reliable than wood, and in their heyday Pleyelas must have been commendably uniform to play. From the distance of nearly one hundred years, one might regret that in the end considerations of cost led the firm to use less expensive metal for casting, since many 1920s Pleyela actions have disintegrated, and so Pleyelas are much rarer than, for example, Pianola Pianos. But of course no player pianos were constructed with the 21st century in mind, and earlier models, from around the time of the First War, were still manufactured with aluminium, and so have survived.
Pleyel-Pleyela Upright Piano, Model 3D, Paris, c. 1913.
The Dea-Pleyela and the Della-Pleyela
Shortly before the First World War, Pleyel, Lyon et Cie entered into agreements with two German firms, Ludwig Hupfeld of Leipzig, and Römhildt-Heilbronn of Weimar and Berlin. Hupfeld's Dea and the Römhildt-Heilbronn Virtuola mechanisms were installed into Pleyel pianos, becoming the Dea-Pleyela and the Della-Pleyela. There was even a Dea push-up player marketed under the Pleyel banner, though this was in all but name a standard German instrument, using the 106-note Dea rolls, which played 85 keys, with an extra 21 tracks for pedalling and dynamic information. Since the Dea was a full reproducing piano, suction was generated by an electric pump, and not by foot-pedals.
Dea-Pleyela, Exterior Model, Paris/Leipzig, c. 1913.
The Della-Pleyela was not long-lived, since the Virtuola which it incorporated was soon being directly sold in France by its German manufacturer, under the name of the Mélodia. By the operation of a simple switch, this 65/73-note expression piano could be pedalled by foot or powered by electricity, and at 7500 Francs, the grand version carried a considerable price ticket. With the outbreak of the First World War, commercial relations between France and Germany broke down, and so the arrangements between Pleyel and its German suppliers came to an abrupt end.
Della-Pleyela, Grand Model, Paris/Leipzig, c. 1913.
There was, however, one remarkable postscript to this Franco-German co-operation, in that Gustave Lyon's irrepressible ingenuity led to his adapting the Virtuola pedal-electric mechanism to his well-known Pleyel double grand piano. There is no evidence to suggest that this was any more than an experiment, but the supremely complicated instrument was photographed and reproduced in a French magazine, Je Sais Tout, in February 1914. Heaven knows who made the special roll-perforating machine!
Della-Pleyela Double Grand Piano, View from Above, Paris, 1914.
Della-Pleyela Double Grand Piano, View from Underneath, Paris, 1914.
Given the break up of trade with Germany, a replacement for the Dea-Pleyela and Della-Pleyela was needed, and the Auto-Pleyela was introduced after the War and ran in parallel with the normal Pleyela for the decade of the 1920s. The influence of the German systems can be seen in some of the mechanisms, notably the main exhauster bellows, identical to those of the Virtuola, and conveniently fitting in between the rear supports of the wooden piano frame.
Rear View of an Auto-Pleyela upright, Paris, 1920s.
The Auto-Pleyela was not what we would regard today as a reproducing piano, and its system of automatic dynamic control was actually very simple, with a choice of two preset speeds for the electric motor driving the suction pump, separate soft pedal mechanisms for the treble and bass, and the usual "ditto-mark" solo perforations at the edges of the roll, similar to Aeolian's Themodist, which could quickly switch between an accompaniment and a theme level. All these aspects of the mechanism could be controlled from the roll, and most of them by hand as well, except for the division of the soft pedal. By 1920 there were many sophisticated reproducing pianos on the market, all with patent protection, and it was perhaps sensible of Pleyel to produce a simpler alternative for those who wanted it, and to concentrate instead on providing a fascinating repertoire on roll for the Pleyela and Auto-Pleyela alike.
An Auto-Pleyela Grand Piano, Paris, 1920s.
One area in which the fashion-conscious milieu of 1920s Paris allowed Pleyel to shine was the production of innovative designs for the casework of its pianos, and, at the top of the price range, the Autopleyela was a natural candidate for such embellishment. Pierre Legrain's gold and silvered-glass Auto-Pleyela from 1929 looks as though it was designed for the robot from Fritz Lang's Metropolis!
Auto-Pleyela Grand in Gold and Silvered-Glass, Pierre Legrain, Paris, 1929.
Pleyela Music Rolls
Pleyela Music Roll Catalogue no. 33, Paris, c. 1925.
Rolls for the Pleyela were split into Rouleaux Métronomiques and Rouleaux Enregistrés, the former being made in ways very similar to Aeolian's metronomic rolls, and the latter created by a marking machine connected to electrical contacts under the keys of a grand piano. Even as early as 1907, some rolls for the Pleyela were recorded at the keyboard, and the special piano and marking machine were designed by the well-known engineer of the time, Jules Carpentier. Back in 1881, Carpentier had presented his new inventions, the Mélographe and the Mélotrope, at the Exposition Internationale de l'Électricité in Paris, the one recording a pianist's playing by means of slots cut in a paper roll, and the other allowing the recording to be played back, though only on a very limited range of the keyboard, and with no dynamic information.
Jules Carpentier's Mélographe Répétiteur, Paris, 1881.
Carpentier's lifelong influence on Pleyel's music roll production can be seen in the similarities between the original Mélographe and the Pleyel recording machine, still in use at the beginning of the 1930s, and also from the fact that his well-equipped workshop was located at no. 20 rue Delambre on the Left Bank, while Pleyel's roll factory ended up next door at no. 22. In the following photograph, the roll engineer can just be seen through the doorway behind the pianists, attending to one of the controls at the right-hand end of the recording machine, which is discreetly hidden behind him; in 1907 such machines were the very latest technology, after all.
MM. Henri O'Kelly and Alexandre Angot at the Pleyela Recording Piano, Paris, 1907.
A foot-operated punching machine was used to perforate master rolls of the metronomic variety; it would not have been much fun to carry out such repetitive work with the boss pointing out every mistake, but Gustave Lyon seems to have had an eye for publicity, and perhaps he was only posing in the following photograph. The identity of the young perforator is not known.
Perforating a Pleyela Master Stencil by Hand, Paris, 1907.
Prior to the First War, dynamic indications for Pleyela rolls were created by musicians playing through a roll, and using dynamic levers, to which were attached inking devices, so that two dynamic lines were marked on a master roll, one for the bass and one for the treble. For the photographer to obtain a "Pleyelist's eye-view", as seen below, the poor player must have had to sit to the right, with a camera on his shoulder, and his arms bent back to the left, to give the appearance of sitting centrally. But the effort was certainly worthwhile, since it gives a very clear impression of the marking process.
Marking Dynamics on a Pleyela Master Roll, Paris, 1907.
Early dynamic lines such as these were apparently copied by hand, with an unmarked production roll placed on top of a prepared master, over a transparent table, illuminated from underneath. The young lady in the following photograph has two rolls clearly visible on her spooling table, and appears to be copying the marked lines in just such a way. However, the man has a score in front of him, and the second take-up spool at his left is empty, so he is perhaps more likely to be checking and correcting a master roll. In fact, he bears some resemblance to Alexandre Angot, the second player in the recording piano photograph earlier, which would certainly fit with his suitability for such musical work. The title of the music is unknown, though it clearly has a lot of notes!
Working with Pleyela Master Rolls, Paris, 1907.
What is probably the bass octave of the recording piano can be seen in the corner of a rather later photograph, which depicts a young woman sitting to correct a roll against a printed score. From 1919 onwards, the Pleyela musical staff were headed by Jacques Larmanjat, a composer himself, with assistance from Roger Féry and others, including the future film composer, Maurice Jaubert. By no means all the Pleyela staff are known, but Stravinsky dealt with Marcelle Kontzler, who carried out some of the correcting work on his Pleyela rolls. The identity of the lady below is not known, though she does seem to have a Marcel wave.
Correcting a Pleyela Music Roll, Paris, 1920s.
By the late 1920s, there was no longer the need to keep the details of roll recording such a closely-guarded secret, and the marking machine was photographed for a book on Mechanical Music by Eugène H-Weiss, published by Librairie Hachette in Paris in 1930. Wires from the Pleyela recording piano were connected to the machine, which can be seen in the following picture, together with its six indicator lamps, no doubt signalling to the staff the operational status of the equipment. The edges of two paper spools can be seen on the right of the roll, and it is unlikely that the paper was simply allowed to cascade on to the floor in normal circumstances. The blank roll was fed from the rear of the machine, passing by equipment which very probably marked constant lines for each note, and possibly prepared the paper chemically.
Pleyela Recording Machine, Paris, 1920s.
The machine appears to have functioned by an electro-chemical process. A series of delicate wire contacts can be seen pressing against the rather wide master roll, and although the photograph, which comes from a book published in 1930, is not especially clear, some marked dots can be made out on the continuous lines printed for every note. As early as the 1880s, there had been at least two patents for the marking up of rolls in this way, so the technology was well tried.
Detail of Pleyela Recording Machine, Paris, 1920s.
Clearly, some form of transcription process from this large roll must subsequently have been carried out, because Pleyel's production master rolls were, unusually, the same width and length as its issued rolls. Accuracy of production perforating was ensured by a synchronisation track in the middle of the master rolls, between E and F above middle C, as can be seen in this detail of a Pleyela roll of Chopin's Valse in Ab, Op. 69, no. 1, still in the process of being marked up. Remember that, when seen sideways like this, the music runs from right to left, with the treble at the top!
Unfinished Pleyela Master Roll - Chopin, Valse in Ab, Op. 69/1, Paris, 1920s.
One of the advertised features of Pleyela rolls was the style of perforations known as Comète, named after the trail of a comet, and resembling the sort of perforated slots that join postage stamps together. Perforating long notes in this way, with thin bridges between successive perforations, allowed the paper to remain stronger and more durable. Many other companies included such patterns on their rolls, which were more universally known as chained perforations, or perforations cloisonnées in French, but it took a certain Gallic charm to make something almost poetic out of such a technical device!
Opening of Pleyela Roll 8278, Mozart Sonata in C, K330, 2nd movt, played by Mlle. M. Girod, showing Comète Trade Mark and Chained Perforations, Paris, 1920s.
The Pleyela repertoire was wide-ranging and adventurous. As might be expected, French composers were especially well represented, and the firm made a remarkable effort in producing a catalogue of accompaniment rolls, both for solo voices and for instruments. Almost all the instruments of the orchestra were represented, not just violin and 'cello, but most of the woodwind and brass as well. The solo parts were represented on roll by printed lines taking the place of the corresponding note perforations. Stravinsky re-composed many of his major works for the Pleyela, and Pleyel's head of music, Jacques Larmanjat, and his staff made special roll arrangements of many of the Beethoven symphonies. A roll library was maintained, initially at the company's headquarters in the rue Rochechouart, but moving after the First War to premises in the Avenue de l'Opéra, between the Aeolian Company and the Paris Opera itself. After a short period by the side of the new Salle Pleyel (see below), the roll department went its own separate way in 1929, as La Perforation Musicale, with workshops in the rue Delambre on the Left Bank.
Jacques Larmanjat's special arrangements for Pleyela included Beethoven's Symphonies nos. 3, 5 and 6, while his assistant, Roger Féry, contributed no. 7. This is Larmanjat's version of the third movement, the Scherzo, from the Symphony no. 5 in C minor. In normal performance this movement runs straight into the Finale without a break, which is one reason why it ends very quietly. The aim of such an arrangement is not to stun its listeners by the number of notes played, but rather to give a reasonable impression of the orchestral score to some French music lover valiantly pedalling away chez lui.
|BEETHOVEN: Scherzo from 5th Symphony, [4.2 Mb]
Performed by Rex Lawson - November 2008, London.
This roll was played back on a Steck grand Pianola Piano in London, in November 2008.
The audio recording is the copyright of the Pianola Institute, 2008.
The Salle Pleyel
There have actually been three different Salles Pleyel over the course of some two hundred years, and of course the current holder of the title, just down the road from the Élysée Palace, is still one of the most stylish concert halls in Paris. The opening concert of the first Salle Pleyel, at 9 rue Cadet, took place on 1 January 1830, and about two years later, Chopin made his first humble appearance on the stage chez Pleyel, as one of six pianists in a multiple piano bonanza written by Friedrich Kalkbrenner.
Pleyel's Warerooms, 20-24 rue Rochechouart, Paris, 1839 - 1927.
In 1834 a new site was purchased, in the rue Rochechouart, and construction workshops, lavish new sale rooms, and a fine concert hall were erected, the new venue opening in December 1839 with yet another piano spectacular by Kalkbrenner, only this time for eight pianos, thirty-two hands! Ths second Salle Pleyel became a real centre of 19th century Parisian concert life; Chopin, Liszt, Thalberg, Rubinstein, César Franck had all appeared there by the mid-1840s. A 10-year-old Saint-Saëns took to the stage in 1846, offering any one of Beethoven's piano sonatas as an encore - from memory!
The second Salle Pleyel, 22 rue Rochechouart, Paris, 1839 - 1927.
In conjunction with an expanded factory in Saint-Denis, the Rochechouart premises served admirably for the best part of ninety years, but after the First World War there was a general feeling of euphoria in the musical instrument world. Just like Aeolian in America, Pleyel had seen a very successful period of commerce before the War, and for several years after the Armistice the general atmosphere of prosperity seemed set to continue unabated. Clearly a new flagship building was needed, and Gustave Lyon's restless imagination always sought new challenges. During the War he had designed anti-aircraft weaponry and had been put in charge of some of France's main coastal defences, but as early as June 1922 he had set his mind to the design of a new concert hall, with the question of acoustics taking the lead.
Gustave Lyon's First Sketch for the 1927 Salle Pleyel, Paris, 1922.
Just how similar the final design remained to his original sketch can be seen in this cut-away illustration of the new hall in 1927.
The newly-opened Salle Pleyel, 252 rue du Faubourg St. Honoré, Paris, 1927.
Igor Stravinsky and Maurice Ravel both conducted their own works as part of the inaugural concert on 18 October 1927. There was a disastrous fire some nine months later, and the reconstruction work cost the firm of Pleyel very dearly, but then piano firms around the world were suffering as a result of the radio, cinema and gramophone, and the French industry had no reason to be immune. Nevertheless, the Salle Pleyel designed by Gustave Lyon remains in use today, and has recently been renovated, now housing the present-day piano firm of Pleyel, re-united with its fine concert hall after many decades.
The Interior of the new Salle Pleyel, painted by André Devambez for L'Illustration in 1928.
It is admittedly something of a digression to be discussing concert halls at some length on a website devoted to the player piano. Yet Pianolas, Phonolas and Pleyelas were undoubtedly luxury items, and in most cases the demise of the piano firms symbolised the disintegration of the way of life which they served. Not one original Aeolian Hall has survived to the 21st century, but the Salle Pleyel is still with us, as a reminder of how important the piano and its music were to our forefathers nearly a hundred years ago.
Pleyela Instruction Manuals
Pleyela Instruction Manual, Paris, c. 1923.
As part of the Pianola Institute's project of creating web versions of player piano instruction booklets, you can download an Adobe pdf file of a Pleyela manual from c. 1923, dealing with the Pleyel-Pleyela player piano and the Auto-Pleyela expression piano.
Website Links and Other Sources of Information
PLEYEL - The Art of Piano - Official website of the present-day Parisian piano firm.
Salle Pleyel - Official website of the Salle Pleyel concert hall in Paris.
Pleyel - Manufacture de pianos fondée à Paris en 1807 - The best history of Pleyel on the web, in French, from Pianos Esther in Liège, Belgium.
Ignaz J. Pleyel - Museum - Thriving website (in German) of the Pleyel Museum in Ruppersthal, Austria, the place of Ignaz Pleyel's birth.
Gustave Frantz Lyon (1857-1936) - Excellent biography (in French) of Gustave Lyon, with an emphasis on his remarkably wide range of engineering achievements.
The Musical Server of Serge Soudoplatoff - If you want to hear just how superb a Pleyel grand piano of 1898 (not a player) should sound, look no further!
Pleyela no. 168992 - Present-day pictures of a Pleyela grand piano belonging to Vincent Thébault in France.