This double piano was an innovative creation of the Parisian firm Pleyel, whose instruments were the favourites of composers and pianists such as: Chopin, Grieg, Debussy, Saint-Saëns and Stravinsky.

The first one was completed in c1890 and production continued until c1939.  It was patented as the Duo-Clave and in the c1920’s they produced a larger model.

The instrument can best be described as two overstrung grands in one rectangular case, measuring 5ft – the normal keyboard width by 9ft 7in, with a keyboard at each end, a combined soundboard and one large lid to reflect the sound of both pianos to the audience. 

There is an obvious logic behind the design as two piano frames create a simple rectangle and therefore take up much less space than two pianos.  An interesting side benefit is that the strings of one piano create resonances from the strings of the other piano.

Piano Auctions Ltd were delighted to be offering in our Auction Sale of the 12th December the renowned Orpheus and Bacchus Pleyel Duo-Clave, possibly one of the last made.  It was not completed at the factory – the frame and carcass were stored and then rescued by Maison Erard in the early c2000’s.  This Pleyel-Duo Clave then emerged as a superb restored example.  It has been played on by famous artists including:  Louis Lortie, Helen Mercier, Christopher Hinterhuber, Boris Giltburg and many others.

Lot 70  Pleyel the Orpheus and Bacchus Duo-Clave No 77990 (c1939)
A 9ft 7in rare double keyboard concert piano in an ebonised case.  This piano has been restored. 

Hammer Price:  £42,000


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