On July 11th 2019, in the course of the 20th anniversary of Lebenswelt Schenkenfelden, a unique welfare institution where blind-deaf people and deaf people with coupled disabilities work together, Thomas Stelzer, the govenor of Upper Austria, visited the Gerstlhaus targeting our famous fortepiano from 1814. After a short serenade, Thomas Stelzer showed great interest in the presentation of the instrument. On observing his questions and comments, we are sure that this fortepiano by Walter will definitely leave lasting impressions on him. After that, we presented our Krämerei, an antiquarian store, and the post office as well as the exhibition of “Lebenswelt”.
The visit of our Govenor was of great importance to the Gerstlhaus team. Although, we wish that there would have been more time left for that. Because Thomas Stelzer supports a grant for the installation of a humidification system in our Biedermeier room, we would have loved to present more of that marvelous fortepiano sound. Considering the busy schedule of our Governor, we are glad that our little musuem had caught his attention for at least a couple of minutes.
“And here is the famous fortepiano by Walter … “
These were the words that the 3rd grade school children of the Schenkenfelden elementary school heard when they entered the Biedermeier room. The young guests who visited the museum together with their teacher, Christine Hehenberger, and her assistant, Birgit Weigel, were surprisingly well informed which became apparent during the tour. In her typical and unique way, Greti Ecker fascinated the large group with her narratives. The children discovered yet unfamiliar objects, asked numerous questions and had a lot of fun.
After that, the visitors proceeded into the Biedermeier room where they could listen to various musical pieces beside gaining valuable information about the fortepiano like the year before. Some children had brought their own instruments and together they sang and performed music. At the end, the young artists received great applause from their colleagues. The Gerstlhaus team was glad, that they were again visited by children of the elementary school and hopes, that last years premiere will turn into a recurring hightlight.
On September 27th 2018, we were pleased to welcome Arthur Schoonderwoerd which was a special experience to us. The pianist and conductor is one of the world’s best and most successful interprets at the fortepiano and an acknowledged expert for numerous instruments of museums and collections.
As part of a concert tour the famous musician, who has won multiple awards, visited Upper Austria and the Gerstlhaus team gladly followed his desire to take a closer look at our rarity, the fortepiano by Walter.
Arthur Schoonderwoerd instantly showed great enthusiasm about the harmonious ambience of the Gerstlhaus, espacially of the fortepiano. He said, that an exceptionally well restored instrument like this piano which also produces such maverlous sounds after 200 years is very rare to find!
He inspected the fortepiano in every detail and played it, discussing with full enthusiasm. “You are lucky”, Arthur Schoonderwoerd said, who found it hard to release the instrument. However, he promised to return at the next opportunity – perhaps even for a concert…
The enthusiasm of a man, who not only belongs to the best of his generation, but also has extensive knowledge of related history and performance practices, once again showed what an exceptional rarity we have in our museum and therefore the importance of maintaining it and continually bringing it to life.
On July 3rd 2018, 3rd grade school children of the Schenkenfelden elementary school visited the Gerstlhaus museum together with their teacher, Carmen Schimpl. Some of them brought their instruments. But first, they enjoyed the tour through the antiquarian store and post rooms.
Greti Ecker described life of past times in an exciting and entertaining way. She introduced numerous unfamiliar exhibits, forged a bridge between now and then and brought the museum to life.
Afterwards, the children were led into the Biedermeier room, where they could gain interesting information on the fortepiano, followed by their own musical performance. That morning, recorders, violines, a Styrian harmonica and a tuba were accompanied by the 200 years old fortepiano where normally international artists play the music of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. The young musicians received great applause from their colleagues, a worthy conclusion of the first visit of an elementary school. The Gerstlhaus team looks foward to another episode!