Restoring - our philosophy

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Restoring historical pianos requires a lot of practical experiance as well as theoretical knowledge. Craftsmanship on a high level is a must; in addition to this it is necessary to use old techniques and the corresponding materials. Another important aspect is to study the sources and to know about all varieties in the long and manysided history of piano-development.

Gert Hecher is member of the Austrian Restorer's Association, therefore the common rules of restoring and preserving of cultural goods are valid for the Klavieratelier. In short terms these rules are saying that it is of highest priority to save historical material as a matter of information. Manipulations should be reversible and documented, raplacement of missing parts shoulbe be made after authentic patterns and not after the restorer's ideas. Restoring means to reconstract a condition which should be as original or pristine as possible!

The high quality of our restoration-work is the reason, why many private persons as well as official institutions, like the Technical Museum in Vienna, the Collection of Antique Musical Instruments in the Museum of Fine Arts in Vienna, the Brahms-Museum in Mürzzuschlag/Styria, the Schubert-Museum in Atzenbrugg/Lower Austria and many others are among our clients.
The principle rules given here should be valid also for modern instruments.
A piano built around 1920 has all technical features like a brand new one, but in fact it is a document of it's time and therefore it is "historic".
The average restoration of an old piano currently does not contain more than simple replacement of all important parts, as strings, hammers, sometimes the whole action including the keyboard, in some cases even the soundboard.
In fact such pianos can not be called "restored", because they lost their pristine character, which means their attraction and their high asthetic level.
We are absolutely convinced that many defects can be adjusted by means of restoration and preservation, sometimes a simple clean-up shows an enormous result!
Today nobody would seriously replace the soundboard of a fourhundred years old harpsichord, but some piano technicians do not hesitate to do this in a piano from the 1880s in order to sell the instrument as "like new". But where is the principal difference? Do we like a harpsichord, made around 1600, "like new"?
By the way, nearly every broken soundbord can be joined and rebuilt; this requires some effort and some capability.

In summary the principle difference between the average work and ours is that in the first case new material supports a playable condition much quicker, while in our workshop we concentrate on handicraft in order to save the original appearance of an instrument. After all the difference in price is not remarkable; new material can be even more expensive than the effort in manual work.

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