Bösendorder has revealed its latest grand piano – The Secession 214VC. This is the first instrument in Bösendorfer’s new Architecture Series. Production is limited to just 21 pianos, making this instrument something of a collector’s item.
The piano is described as “a tribute to the Viennese Art-Noveau (or Jugendstil)” and is part-inspired by the Secession building on Friederichstraße, Vienna. This building is the world’s oldest independent exhibition space dedicated explicitly to contemporary art.
The “Vienna Secession” was actually an anti-establishment cultural movement. In 1897 a group of Austrian artists (painters, sculptors, and architects), led by Gustav Klimt, broke away from the mainstream fine art houses (Künstlerhaus) and set up a new modernist faction. The movement, formally known as the “Association of Visual Artists Vienna Secession” managed to amass enough funds to design and erect their own exhibition space.
Secession: The action of withdrawing formally from membership of a federation or body (often political).
The building itself features a magnificent 30-foot dome comprising 3000 gold-plated iron laurel leaves. It has become an iconic part of the Viennese skyline. On the front of the edifice are the words “Ver Sacrum” (meaning Sacred Spring). This was the title of the movement’s official magazine.
It is this building and what it represents that is the inspiration for Bösendorfer’s new limited edition grand piano.
The piano with its striking hand-gilded adornments instantly generates that art nouveau aura. The inside of the lid is resplendent with a recreation of the golden laurel leaves of the Secession’s dome. And the music rack is engraved and gilded with the words “Ver Sacrum”. The inner rim is a gentle green colour, and this enhances the shiny 23-karat gold-plated frame.
“This grand piano is a sincere tribute to precious materials and Secessionist art, not only beautiful in design, but also possessing the incomparable Bösendorfer sound with its unparalleled tonal color. Traditional Austrian craftsmanship and heritage perfectly complement the Secession’s inimitable Viennese Art Nouveau style, reflecting a convergence of all levels of Austrian culture — art, music and craftsmanship.”Gary Klugman, director of marketing, Keyboards, Yamaha Corporation of America.
Bösendorfer has based the Secession on their excellent 214VC grand piano. The “VC” stands for Vienna Concert, and this range was established some seven years ago. There are four models 170VC, 185VC, 214VC and 280VC. These pianos have the identity and tradition of a Bösendorfer grand but with every component analysed and reconstructed using the very latest technologies. This provides a refined, yet classic, acoustic instrument for the 21st century. The Model 214VC is also at the heart of the Bösendorfer 250 Years Beethoven Edition grand piano.
The company has a history of working with famous Austrian architects. Thephol Hansen (though originally Danish) and Anton Grosser, Josef Hoffman, Josef Frank, and Hans Hollein have all designed pianos for the company. Hoffman was actually one of the original 21 founding members of the Secession and directed the famous 1902 exhibition for which Klimt created his celebrated Beethoven Frieze.
So, in truth, the Architectural Series started many years ago.
Pricing and Availability
Bösendorfer is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Yamaha Corporation (Japan). And all their pianos are built by hand at the company’s facility in Vienna, Austria.
The Secession 214VC Vienna Concert grand piano has a US MSRP of $248,999.00, and is available from January 2020.
Further information will be available shortly on the Bösendorfer website.
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The side of the case should’ve included scenes from Klimt’s Frieze depicting Wagner’s interpretation of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony